What We Believe
Articles of Faith
A Bible Baptist is one who believes in a supernatural Bible, which tells of a supernatural Christ, Who had a supernatural birth, Who spoke supernatural words, Who performed supernatural miracles, Who lived a supernatural life, Who died a supernatural death, Who rose in supernatural splendor, Who intercedes as a supernatural priest and Who will one day return in supernatural glory to establish a supernatural kingdom on the earth.
I. Of the scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried
1. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, was written by men divinely inspired and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us and therefore it, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried. We believe that the Authorized King James Version of the Bible is God’s preserved Word for the English speaking people, and will be the only version used by any ministry of Harvest Baptist Church.
II Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable by doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
I Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
2. OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; that He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Psalm 83:18 “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”
Exodus 15:11 “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
Mark 12:30 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
Ephesians 2:18 “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
3. OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in holiness under the law of his Maker but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but by choice, by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:31 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Genesis 3:6-24 “And when the woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and the tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit therefore, and did eat it, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree wherefore I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly thou shalt go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I have commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thy eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and his wife did the LORD God make coats of skin, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of live, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Ezekiel 18:19-20Yet say ye, Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
4. OF THE WAY OF SALVATION
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatory offices of the Son of God who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature; that being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, yet without sin, He honored the divine law by His personal obedience and by His death made a full atonement for our sins; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven and, uniting in His wonderful person the most tender sympathies with divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Philippians 2:16-17 “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.”
Hebrews 7:25 “ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Hebrews 2:18 “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
5. OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great gospel blessing, which Christ secures to such as believe in Him, is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life in principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but soley through faith in the Redeemer’s blood, by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that justification brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
John 1:16 “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
Acts 13:39 “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Romans 4:4-5 “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Romans 5:1, 2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
6. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
Isaiah 55:1 “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Romans 16:25-26 “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
John 5:40 “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
7. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life.
John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
1Peter 1:22-25 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Ephesians 5:9 “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;”
Galatians 5:16-23 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
8. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; and at the same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and rely on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
Mark 1:15 “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
Ephesians 2:8 ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized 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.”
Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
9. OF GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, God’s purpose comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that grace is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that grace utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God and active imitation of His free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
II Timothy 1:8-9 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
II Thessalonians 2:13-14 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Exodus 33:18-19 “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
II Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
II Peter 1:10-11 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
10. OF SANCTIFICATION
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God. We are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means – especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.
I Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
I John 2:29 “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”
Romans 8:5 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
Philippians 2:12-13 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
11. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS
We believe that those who are born again or regenerated are saved forever; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
John 3:31 “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.”
I John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
I John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God
12. OF HARMONY OF THE LAW & GOSPEL
We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just and good; that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; and that the one great end of the Gospel is to deliver them from this inability and to restore them, through a Mediator, to unfeigned obedience to the holy law and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Romans 7:12 “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:2-4 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
13. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops or pastors and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
Matthew 18:17 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
I Corinthians 1:1-13 “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
I Corinthians 11:2 “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Acts 2:41-42 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
I Timothy 3 “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Titus 1 “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
14. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe the Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. We believe that the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church by the sacred use of the bread and grape juice are to commemerate together the dying love of Christ, is to be preceded always by a solemn self-examination.
Acts 8:36-39 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
John 3:22-23 “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”
Matthew 28”19 “When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”
Romans 6:3 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Acts 2:41-42 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
I Corinthians 11:26 - 28“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”
15. OF THE LORD’S DAY
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes by abstaining from all secular labor, except works of mercy and necessity; by the devout observance of all means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest which remaineth for all the people of God.
Acts 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Isaiah 58:13-14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Hebrews 4:3-11 “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
16. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, expect only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
Romans 13:1-7 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
Matthew 22:21 “They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Matthew 23:10 “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.”
17. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem, while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and that this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
Malachi 3:18 “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
I John 5:19 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”
Luke 16:25 “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
18. OF THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that the end of this age is approaching. We believe in “That blessed hope” – the personal, imminent return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting punishment of the lost.
I Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
Acts 1:11 “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Acts 24:15 “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
Matthew 24:31-46 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
Revelation 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
19. OF SEPARATION OF THE BELIEVER
We believe that all saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Saviour and Lord; and that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded by GOD.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God;
Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
II Cor. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
II Tim 3:1-5This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
20. THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN
We believe that Satan is the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire.
Job 1:6-7Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Isa. 14:12-17 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
Matt. 4:2-11 Mt 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Rev. 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
21. OF HUMAN SEXUALLITY
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.
Gen. 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Gen 19:5-7 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Gen. 26:8-9 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
Lev. 18:1-30 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD. None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time. Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her. And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
Romans 1:26-29 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
I Cor. 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
I Cor. 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
I Thes. 4:1-8 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
Heb. 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
22. OF DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
We believe that Gods plan is for a man to be married to a woman, God forbids any and all same sex marriage, and intends for the marriage to last until one of the spouses dies; although divorced and remarried persons may hold positions of service in the church, and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon.
Mal. 2:14-17 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
Matt. 19:3-12 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Romans 7:1-3 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
I Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
23. OF ABORATION
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, inexcusable taking of unborn human life and is to be considered as murder.
Job 3:16 Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them
Isa. 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
Isa. 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name
Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jer. 20:15-18 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
Luke 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
This Statement of Faith may not be taken away from, but may be
added to, as deemed necessary, as set forth in the Church constitution.
HARVEST BAPTIST CHURCH CONSTITUTION
A. The Constitution of Harvest Baptist Church of Hudsonville is an agreement between its members and functions as a guideline to operational procedures of the same according to the authority of God’s Word.
B. This Constitution shall not supercede the Articles of Faith nor usurp the authority of the Word of God. (Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”)
1. Members shall unite in like purpose of mind for the spreading of the Gospel, the building up of the body and the exaltation of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:1-4 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
2. The membership of Harvest Baptist Church shall consist of a body of believers who acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that He alone justifies us through His shed blood which we accept by faith alone, apart from works and who publicly profess their faith in Christ in baptism by immersion.
Acts 10:36 “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus.”
Romans 5:1-9 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
3. All applications for membership shall be made to a pastor. All applications shall be referred to the deacons, whose duty it shall be to make diligent inquiry into the spiritual fitness of the applicant, and found satisfactory, to so recommend to the church.
1. Application may be made:
a. By profession of faith and baptism by immersion.
b. By transfer of membership from a church of like faith.
c. By immersion from another body provided it has been approved by the pastor and deacons.
2. When a favorable recommendation has been made, the church shall vote upon the applications. Members may be received into the church at any regular service or business meeting of the church by receiving a majority vote of those active members present. Actual membership in the church shall begin with the official Right Hand of Fellowship.
C. Duties of Members:
1. Once the member discovers his/her spiritual gift(s), each shall seek to develop and exercise his/her gift(s) to the edification of the church.
Romans 12:3-8 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
I Corinthians 14:12 “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”
2. Each member shall conduct himself/herself in a manner that reflects Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:9-21. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
3. Members shall participate in the purpose of Harvest Baptist Church as stated in Article II, section A. They shall help disciple new believers encouraging them to bond with our church. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
II Timothy 4:5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
4. Members shall prayerfully and financially support the ministries of this church.
II Corinthians 9:6-15 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
5. Members shall uphold the pastor and church leaders in prayer and shall attend scheduled worship and fellowship services as well as participate in the functional ministries of the church.
Hebrews 10:22-25 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
D. Termination of Membership:
2. Dismissal to another church.
3. Exclusion by action of the church.
E. Active and Inactive Members:
1. Active members are those members who abide by the duties as stated in Section C of Article II on a consistent basis.
2. inactive members are those members who neglect the duties as stated in Section C of Article II or who have not attended scheduled services for three (3) consecutive months and were absent from the previous business meeting.
Inactive members shall not include shut-ins, the sick or those who have moved or are living out of the area on a temporary basis. These members will continue to be considered active members.
3. Individuals who are inactive for a period of 12 months shall be dropped from the roll.
F. Voting Privileges of Members:
Active members who are presently 18 years of age or older who are currently attending regular services shall have full voting privileges. Members who do not attend scheduled services, at least (2) times per month, as well as those who are considered inactive members forfeit their privilege to vote or have any say in matters discussed in a meeting where a vote is necessary. Exceptions will be made to those who are providentially hindered from the service. Absentee ballots shall be made available upon request. For the purpose of the calling of a Pastor all active members must have participated in the previous business meeting..
G. Watchcare Fellowship:
Application for Watchcare Fellowship may be submitted by those individuals who, for extenuating circumstances, cannot become a full member of the church but would still like to unite with this body and partake of the ministries of this church. Applications shall be reviewed by the pastor and deacons and, providing they meet the qualifications as set forth in Article II, they may be accepted into the fellowship. However, they will not be allowed to vote nor hold a church office.
H. Discipline of Members:
1. It shall be the purpose of Harvest Baptist Church of Hudsonville to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor and his staff will be available to counsel the member in a Scriptural course of action. Restitution and reconciliation rather than punishment shall be the goal of any disciplinary action.
Matthew 18: 15-19 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
I Corinthians 5:1-5 “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
I Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”
2. In the event that some serious condition should exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, every reasonable measure will be taken by the pastor and the deacons to resolve the problem. All such proceedings shall be measured out in humility with a “spirit of meekness considering themselves lest they also be tempted”. But in finding that the welfare of the church would be best served by the exclusion of the member, the pastor and deacons shall make any necessary determinations for church discipline and shall call a meeting to communicate to the church body the decision to remove the member from the membership of Harvest Baptist Church.
Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
3. Any person whose membership has been terminated may, upon his request to the church authorities (the pastor and the deacons) be restored to the fellowship of the church upon evidence of their repentance and reformation.
Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
II Corinthians 2:6-9 “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”
(Offices of the Church)
Section 1: The Office of Pastor
A. Duties: The pastor is to be the bishop, the shepherd and the leader of the flock of God. As a bishop he is to guard those on his staff, assisting the deacons in their obligation to serve the church, and insure to the best of his ability, that the church is maintaining its purpose. As a shepherd, he is to diligently prepare for the scheduled services through study and prayer as he ministers the Word of God. As a leader, he is to be sensitive to the spiritual welfare of the church through prayer, visitation and counseling.
Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Ephesians 4:11-14 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
I Timothy 3:1-7 “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
I Peter 5:1-4 “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
B. Pastoral Authority:
1. The church finds its leadership under the Lord Jesus Christ, through its pastor. He shall be chairman at all business meetings of the church and all committees and ministries unless he appoints someone else to represent him. He shall be ex-officio member of all ministries, committees and departments.
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
2. The pastor is accountable for all ministries of the church.
3. The pastor shall do all that is in his power to fulfill the Statement of Faith and the Church Covenant and this guideline as adopted by the church.
I Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
4. The pastor is to have authority to select his staff members with whom he works. He is to do this with funds appropriated by the deacons and the church. All staff members are answerable to the pastor or the individual(s) to whom the pastor delegated to be the staff superior. The staff position shall be brought before the congregation at a business meeting for approval. No one may be hired or fired unless approval by the pastor.
C. Pulpit Supply:
1. The pastor is responsible to make sure the pulpit is filled in his absence at all times during his ministry.
2. The pastor should know the spiritual strength of the church; therefore, he shall decide the time for Revival Meeting as well as selecting men God would have to preach in the Revival Meeting or Special Services.
D. The Calling of the Pastor:
When necessary to call a pastor, the deacons and at least 2 men ( as decided by the congregation) shall serve as a pulpit selection team. (The number of men selected by the congregation shall be at least 2 men but should not be more the half the total number of the deacons/trustees.) These men shall secure a pastor to serve the church to the best of his ability. The responsibility of investigating the prospective pastor – his ability, dedication, credibility, etc. – is the work of the committee. However, the call of the pastor is affirmed by the church.
1. The pastor, agreeing wholeheartedly with the Church’s Statement of Faith, Covenant and guidelines, shall be called for an indeterminate term. Notice of proposed choice of pastor shall be given one (1) week preceding the election which shall be at any regular service or special business meeting. The minimum affirmative vote for the issuance of a call shall be at least 75% of all qualified members present.
2. When the pastor wishes to terminate the pastorate, he will give one (1) month notice to the church. In the case where the church desires to terminate the pastor, it will require 80% majority vote of the eligible voting members and must give him a one (1) month notice from the time the above mentioned vote is taken. In either case, the pastor of the church may be given one (1) month salary instead of allowing one (1) month of service to be rendered. At that time, the church may demand immediate termination.
3. The salary of the pastor shall be set at the time of his call, agreed upon by the deacons and approved by the church. Thereafter, it shall come under the jurisdiction of the deacons and shall become a part of the annual church budget process.
4. It shall be the responsibility of the deacons to supply preachers to fill the pulpit between pastors.
Section II: The Office of Deacon
1. A deacon and his wife must be active members for a minimum of one (1) year before his election.
2. A deacon must carry out and fulfill the requirements as set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13 “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Deacons shall be co-laborers assisting the pastor in the areas of administration and spiritual welfare of the church. His duties shall include:
1. Serve as an advisory board and sounding board, attending scheduled deacon meetings.
2. They shall help take the workload off of the pastor. Act 6:3-7 “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
3. They shall assist and serve in the maintenance of the grounds and facilities.
4. They shall participate in church activities and ministries.
5. They shall be alert to spiritual dangers that could hurt the church’s testimony and ministry.
6. They shall assist in the administration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptismal services.
7. They shall be responsible to count the offerings and deposit them within a 24 hour period.
Present deacons shall be confirmed annually. Additional deacons shall be added as the needs of the church dictates with the nominating process beginning in October.
C. Nominating Team/Process:
1. The nominating team shall consist of two (2) current board members, two (2) men selected by the church as representatives and the pastor who will act as chairman.
a. The board members shall be selected on a volunteer basis and shall be confirmed by a majority vote of deacons present.
b. The church representatives shall be nominated by the congregation. The first two (2) nominees shall act as representatives and the nominations closed.
2. The nominating team shall review the names of the qualified men submitted who will then be contacted and examined. Upon acceptance of their nomination, they shall be presented to the church for confirmation at a business meeting. All deacons shall be confirmed on an annual basis. A majority vote by secret ballot shall approve the appointment of deacons.
The leadership of the educational ministries shall consist of the pastor(s), deacons and teachers. The order of accountability shall be as follows:
Assistant Pastor Deacons
Teachers Ministry Leaders
The pastor’s duties are set forth in Article III, Section I.
The deacon’s duties are set forth in Article III, Section II.
The teachers’ duties shall be:
1. Active members/watchcare fellowship of this church.
2. They shall agree with the doctrinal position of the church as set forth in the Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant.
3. Workers shall maintain a godly testimony in the areas of dress, attitude and mannerisms.
4. They shall display a passion for souls and be an aggressive soul winner in church programs as well as in their personal lives.
5. They shall believe in tithing and shall practice it by faithfully giving to God through this church.
6. They shall be faithful in carrying out the responsibilities outlined in their specific job description.
7. They shall seek to improve their duties by participating in training programs offered by this church as well as through personal growth programs.
8. They shall cooperate with the church leadership and seek to build unity and harmony among the other workers.
9. They shall strive to maintain a positive attitude toward the entire church ministry and staff. They should appear excited about the ministries of Harvest Baptist Church.
10. They shall bear in mind the great responsibility they have and use their influence to direct the lives of the student toward godliness.
11. They shall practice punctuality to services and their respective church ministries.
12. They shall respect confidentiality toward any student problems that may arise consulting first with their immediate director and if necessary, the pastor.
13. They shall always have a substitute in place in case they cannot meet their responsibilities.
B. Specific Job Descriptions:
1. Sunday School Superintendent:
a. He shall provide a pastoral ministry to the teachers.
b. He shall provide the necessary training for present and perspective teachers.
c. He shall provide the material to be used in order for the teachers to fulfill their respective responsibilities.
d. He shall present perspective teachers to the pastor for consideration and/or approval.
e. He shall select and/or suggest training material for further classes and ministries.
f. He shall keep accountability records on all teachers and submit them to the pastor for review.
2. Sunday School Teachers/Outreach Ministry
a. They shall prepare their lessons in advance, acquiring any material needed for their lesson through proper channels.
b. They shall prepare their rooms prior to the arrival of their students and shall greet the students the moment they enter the class.
c. They shall teach their lesson to the best of their ability, being led by the Spirit, utilizing helpers if necessary. They shall communicate to their helper what is expected of him/her showing them how they may be helpful and allow them the opportunity to teach themselves in the proper circumstances.
d. They shall be responsible to maintain order in the class accepting responsibility for their students and helpers.
e. They shall conduct proper follow-up with their students especially in the area of absenteeism:
1) one absence – send a card
2) two absences – make a phone call
3) three absences – make a visit
f. They shall be aware of any specific
needs of the students’ families.
g. They shall be conscious of possible prospects.
h. They shall complete and submit monthly accountability reports to the Sunday School Superintendent.
No real estate or church property shall be purchased, sold, leased or given away without the majority approval of the voting members of the church.
Each transgression involving 10% or more of the weekly church budget shall be submitted to the deacons for prior approval. All transactions involving $1000.00 or more shall be submitted to the church after prior approval by the deacons. At a business meeting it can be approved by a majority vote of the active members present.
All funds and property of organizations or classes of the church or Sunday School is automatically the property of the church.
A monthly financial report shall be made available to all church members.
There shall be three (3) deacons who shall have authorization signatures for financial transactions.
A. Disposition of Church Property:
In case of division of the church membership, church property shall belong to those members who abide by this constitution. In case of dissolution, all remaining assets shall be distributed to church sponsored missionaries after current liabilities have been liquidated.
This church is subject to control of no other ecclesiastical body, and no denominational or associational representatives shall sit in judgment or council over its affairs. It shall never become a member of the Federal Council, National Council or World Council of Churches or any of its affiliated agencies.
A. Special Business Meetings:
Special Business Meetings may be called at any time by the pastor or by 25% of active members by posting a two (2) week prior notice in the church bulletin. In such cases, the pastor will be given a personal written notice two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. No secret business meetings are valid.
No business beyond that of routine weekly affairs shall be carried on in the absence of the pastor when he is on vacation.
B. Business Meetings:
1. The pastor is to moderate over all business meetings.
2. Anything requested to be brought before the congregation as a matter of business must be presented to pastor, and he may at his discretion take it under consideration until the following Sunday before taking any action.
3. Anything that may require more than usual discussion may, at the discretion of the pastor, be postponed for a special meeting.
4. The pastor, at his discretion, may call a meeting of the deacons before placing on the agenda any business to be brought before the congregation.
5. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the active members present , who are eighteen (18) years of age and above and on the church active membership roll , and voting in a duly called business meeting shall constitute a quorum. Unless otherwise stated, at least a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote is needed to carry any congregational action.
6. At the pastor’s and deacons’ discretion, the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the business meeting.
No organizations shall be formed or considered a part of the church activities before it’s sponsors have submitted their plans to the pastor for sanction and approval has been granted.
This supplement of constitution may be amended or revised by the affirmative vote of at least 75% of the active members present and voting at any duly called business meeting of the church. Notice and purpose of the meeting will be announced prior to the meeting.
The deacons shall review the amendment and present it to the church for approval.
HARVEST BAPTIST CHURCH COVENANT
As a bond of unity among us, this church accepts for its members the following covenant:
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and on profession of our faith in Him, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We promise that we will watch over and counsel one another in the spirit of brotherly love, that we will remember one another in our prayers and that we will aid each other in sickness and distress.
We further agree, by aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred pre-eminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We further covenant to maintain family and secret devotion; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to live carefully in this present world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from everything that will cause our brother to stumble or that will bring reproach upon the cause of Christ; and to strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, that amidst evil and good report we will humbly and earnestly seek to live to the honor and glory of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.