We believe in God the Father and the present, miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. We worship a great triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. The Bible is the unique, authoritative Word of God, the revelation of God’s redeeming work. We seek to submit and to obey God in every aspect of our living; in personal character and ethics, in finances and sexuality, in words and deeds, in mind, heart and attitude.
We are a discipling church, a Word teaching church, a sending church. A missions church, we dedicate 1/3 of our annual budget to missions. We equip and discipline disciples. Therefore, we proclaim Jesus with honesty and Spirit-filled rejoicing. In seeking to become the image of our Lord we need the discipline of the Word on a daily basis. We welcome all who hunger and thirst for the adventure of living Christ.
“To know Christ, and to make Him known”
What does this mean?
Definition of “To Know” What does it really mean to know somebody? The Oxford English Dictionary gives two primary definitions for the word “know”—the first relates to information, and the second, to relationship:
- To know: “to be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information”
- To know: “to have developed a relationship with someone through meeting and spending time with them…”
When we say that our vision at FUPC is “to know Christ and to make him known,” we are talking about relationship. Knowing about Christ is not enough. James 2:19 says, “Even the demons believe—and shudder!” We want relationship with Jesus Christ for ourselves, and we want that same relationship for others. In this, God is glorified, and we shall enjoy him forever. As Tim Keller puts it, “Christianity is knowing God.”
The World Does Not Know Christ Ironically, Adam and Eve ceased to know God when they ate of the Tree of Knowledge. Their disobedience broke humanity’s relationship with God. Before they disobeyed, they knew God—they had relationship with him. In him, they knew only good, for God is good. Therefore, all they could gain by eating of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was…a knowledge of evil—a relationship with evil. Evil is sin, and with sin comes suffering and death. The world, in its fallen state, no longer knows God. As 1 John 3:1 says, “The world did not know him.” In John 15:21, Jesus says that the world will persecute his disciples, “because they do not know him who sent me.” The world does not know God (1 Cor. 1:21; John 17:25).
Christ Knows Us Before We Know Him The world does not know God, and neither do we—not at first. The Lord himself must take the initiative to restore relationship with us. He knows us before we know him. As Paul puts it in Galatians 4:9, “you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God.” As Paul writes in Romans 8:29, God foreknew us — us, personally. He chose, he predestined, he saves. Jesus says (John 13:18), “I know whom I have chosen.” Again, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). First Christ knows us, and then we follow him. His grace and peace are then multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).
Knowing Jesus Christ—The Way, The Truth, The Life When Jesus comes to know us—when he initiates a renewed relationship with us, we come to know him as the way, the truth, and the life. When you know Jesus, you “know the way” (John 14:4), you “will know the truth” (John 8:32), and “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
Deepest Possible Relationship Knowing Christ is not knowing “about” Jesus, like some history textbook. This is about a living relationship at the deepest possible level. Marriage hints at it—in the Bible, “to know” refers to the physical unity of a marriage that brings forth new life. In some sense, God wants his people to be spiritually unified with him even more closely than in the relationship between a husband and a wife. In Hosea 2:20, God says to his people, “I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” The church is called the bride of Christ, and Revelation 19:7 foresees “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Knowing God, Knowing Love In marriage, two become one. In knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, he takes away our sins, and we receive his righteousness. We are adopted as children of God. Therefore, when we know him, we also get to know the Father and the Spirit through him. John 14:7: “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.” In John 10:14-15, Jesus says, “I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” Likewise, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you…the Spirit… You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). Through Jesus we are brought into unity with the Father and the Spirit. By being drawn into the life of the Trinity, we are drawn into love itself, for God is love (1 John 4:8). As Jesus prayed to the Father, “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).
Making Christ Known When we know Christ, we not only receive the deathless love of God himself into our very souls, but we also go forth and share that love with others, making Christ known to them, as he has made himself known to us. As 1 John 4:7 says, “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” It is God’s work, but he acts through us. We see God’s agency in Ezekiel 38:23: “So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” At the same time, we find ourselves acting as his ambassadors in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8, where Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This connects with Matthew 24:14, where Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Jesus Christ Is our Top Priority In the end, it’s all about knowing Christ, and making him known. As Paul puts it in Philippians 3:8: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Hence, our vision is to know Christ and to make him known. This is Christianity in a nutshell, and this vision will be fulfilled, for it is God who will see it through. As Paul declares, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Earthly Folly, Heavenly Wisdom The world does not understand this—but that’s ok, for this is God’s command to the church through which he is free to perform miraculous works, for his glory. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
An Enduring Vision So, “To know Christ and to make him known” is the vision of FUPC. It is an enduring distillation of biblical truth, and sets the course for all our ministries. In the words of Hosea 6:3,
Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
First United Presbyterian Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will develop disciples who worship God, grow spiritually, care for the congregation, and reach out to the world.
Vision: To encourage the church to commit to pursuing Christ together to see, display and proclaim the glory of God.
Mission: The mission of corporate worship is to enable God’s covenant people to see the glory of God, hear the truth of the gospel and respond with joy in Christ and a life of worship.
Vision: To live as disciples, transformed by Christ, pursuing spiritual gifts in the service of God and the church.
Mission: To make disciples who worship God through all seasons in life in all places together by: hearing the Word, studying the Word, applying the Word and serving one another.
Vision: To provide an avenue of celebrating and sharing the love of God together through fellowship within the church.
Mission: People ministering to people, starting with us.
Vision: Impact our community for Christ and around the world guiding and equipping God’s disciples to fulfill the second great commandment, “To Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”.
Mission: Train and equip God’s disciples to seek and save the lost, provide for those in need, and love all God’s children, upholding all in prayer.