Christianity is first and foremost a redemptive religion. The reason it exists is to rescue humanity from sin and restore men and women to God their creator. Christianity is not, first of all, an ethic or a philosophy of life — although it is that. Its focus, its reason for being, is salvation from sin. And so at the center of its message is the glad announcement of a Savior who has by himself done all the work that saves. Jesus Christ, the Lord from Heaven, has come as one of us and has stood in the place of sinners, accomplishing in our place all that God requires of us. On the cross he bore the judgment of our sin, the curse and penalty due us for our rebellion against God. And having exhausted that curse he rose from the dead in triumph over it.
This is the message that lies at the heart of Christianity. We call it the gospel, the “good news” that Christ died for our sins, just as God had promised in Scripture, and that he rose again from the dead, just as Scripture had foretold, and he was seen of many eyewitnesses.
The good news is that in Jesus Christ we have a Savior, one who has rescued us for our sin and restored us to God. Although there is nothing we could ever do to earn God’s favor, we are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus who is for us all that God requires of us. Trusting in him we have, in him, all that God could ever demand. And resting in him we are brought to the joy of fellowship with the Triune God.
This gospel not only lies at the heart of Christianity; it is the guiding and shaping factor of a genuinely Christian church. At New Hyde Park Baptist Church our earnest ambition is to offer a ministry that is recognizably gospel-shaped in its every detail. Our worship service, our children and youth ministries, our music and singing, our church fellowships and socials – all of it is the outworking of this central message that in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we have been reconciled to God.
We do not claim to have achieved this goal perfectly. But this is our ambition, and by God’s enablement we are encouraged to see it increasingly realized. Our mission is, by the proclamation of the gospel to make as many people as possible fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
We are of course a Christian church. That says it. But then again we must realize that it doesn’t say much to very many people, for it is a term that is used with so many different points of reference that it lacks real precision. To various people “Christian” might mean Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox or simply non-Jewish or non-Muslim. So we would go another step and gladly identify ourselves more specifically — we are a Protestant church.
Further, we believe in the historic Christian teachings of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, justification by faith alone, and that salvation is a supernatural work of God’s grace. And we do not believe in the efficacy of the sacraments — that saving grace is communicated via the waters of baptism, for example. These kinds of doctrines regarding the Scriptures and salvation identify us as within the historic Evangelical tradition.
Next, we believe that the church consists of believers only, and we recognize that scripture authorizes baptism for believers only — in this we are a Baptist church.
Next, believing as we do that salvation is the result of the supernatural workings of divine grace, we teach that God is sovereign in saving sinners. This is sometimes referred to as “sovereign grace” but is known generally as Reformed theology.
And in all this we strive to be a gospel-centered and gospel-shaped church. By that we simply mean that we want this saving distinctive of Christianity to have a shaping influence in every aspect of our ministry.
Please come and join us this Sunday in our worship together, rejoicing in the grace of God given in Jesus Christ!