What Do We Teach?
Overview of Beliefs
The West Valley church of Christ is a non-denominational group of believers committed to restoring simple New Testament Christianity. We worship God through a capella singing in accordance with the pattern for worship described in the New Testament. We teach that God is the one who adds people to His church when they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, believe and confess Jesus as the only Son of God, repent of their sins, and are then baptized in water for the remission of sins. Placing membership is only for expressing the commitment to serve under the oversight of the elders as only God has the authority for adding people to His church.
… the need for Christian Character. Every Christian is expected to evidence “the fruit of the Spirit” by how they live. This is evidence that we are walking and growing as God would want us to be: we have joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
…the authority of God’s Word. The Bible is the complete revelation of God to man (no more “new” teaching from God to man), is inspired by God, and is without error (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3, 21). We are able to understand God’s word through diligent study (2 Timothy 2:15). We are expected to teach what God has revealed and not invent any new teaching or tradition of men (Matthew 15:9).
…Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one and only begotten Son of God (Matthew 16:16) who came to “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) and was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). He was in the beginning with God and was God. (John 1:1) He took on flesh and became human, died on the cross, sacrificing Himself to pay the debt of sin for all mankind (Hebrews 2:9-18). He is divine, not a creation of God but a part of the Godhead. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born into this world through a virgin named Mary. He lived a life without sin (Hebrews 4:15, 9:14) and now sits at the right hand of God (Hebrews 8:1, 10:12) where He intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).
…the church. Jesus promised to build only one church and He did (Matthew 16:18). The church was promised in prophesy (Daniel 2:44) and became a reality on the Day of Pentecost with Peter’s sermon (Acts 2). It is the Lord who adds to His church, not man by hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, being baptized, and remaining faithful (Acts 2:38, 47; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 1:7). The church is to support the teaching of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
…sin and salvation. Sin is the breaking of God’s holy law (1 John 5:17; 3:4; Romans 3:19) and separates one from God (Romans 3:23). Sin is not inherited but is the acting on of a desire by the individual (James 1:14-15). Even though a sinner is separated from God, reconciliation is possible through Jesus Christ (Acts 5:30-31; 13:23). Through Christ’s death, our sin is paid for (1 John 2:2) and salvation is a free gift of God. We must accept it through obedience and a faithful life (Ephesians 2:8-10).
…marriage. God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, 27, 31). The marriage is symbolic of the relationship between God and His people (Ezekiel 16:32; book of Hosea) and between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Since God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), marriage is a union that lasts until death.
…worship. Every first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, is a time of fellowship to praise God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The purpose of worship is to remember what God has done, said, and promises. Worship is to be conducted in a reverent attitude and decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). We sing a capella (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), give what a person has prospered and purposed to give (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-3, 12-15). A sermon from God’s word that helps us understand what we need to know, to encourage us to live in a holy manner, and to humble ourselves before God in repentance and praise. Prayer is a vital part of our worship as we talk to God.
…Elders and deacons. Scripture teaches that a congregation is to have elders and they have authority over that congregation. The congregation is able to give input as to who serves (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11; 1 Peter 5:1-3) and must be fully qualified to serve as given in Scripture. We also have deacons who help lead our various ministries and ways of service (1 Timothy 3:8-13). The congregation is led by elders, served by deacons, and they emphasize the involvement of all believers in various ministries.
…baptism. Baptism is to be a full body immersion under water for the remission of sins and is necessary for salvation (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). While there are clearly other Biblical steps necessary (Hear-Romans 10:17; Believe-John 8:24; Repent-Acts 2:38; Confess-Romans 10:9-10), it is when one emerges from the waters of baptism that one is united with Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27), and receives the benefits of Christ’s shed blood on the cross. Baptism is not a work, but rather an act of faithful obedience. (Mark 16:16).
If you have any questions or a desire to study further, please contact us!
How to be Saved
- HEAR THE GOSPEL (Romans 10:13-17; John 6:45; Revelation 1:3)
- BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST (John 20:30-31; Hebrews 11:6; Acts 16:31)
- REPENT OF YOUR SINS (Luke 13:3-5; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30-31)
- CONFESS JESUS AS LORD (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10)
- BE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16)
- LIVE A GODLY AND FAITHFUL LIFE (Titus 2:11-14; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Peter 1:5-11)
Love is the Basis of What We Believe and Do
Matthew 22:34-40 gives us the account of a lawyer asking Jesus a question about what the greatest commandment was. Jesus responded, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.'”
How is this the basis of what we believe and do? Simply put, the answer resides in love’s great power. Love is frequently mentioned in Scripture because it is of paramount importance in how we react to others and in our relationship with God (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5; etc.). When we consider Jesus’ answer to the lawyer, it can be summed up in four words: love God love others. When we love God and we follow His desires and His commandments, we realize that our natural reaction should be to love others… as we do ourselves. When we exhibit proper love, like Christ did, we see that love has great power because…
Love centers on what matters. When it comes to matters of the “heart” and “soul,” these are things that weigh heavily on our minds. Our love for God determines our mindset on how we love others and ourselves. We become more kind, we do not envy, boast, and certainly are not arrogant or prideful (1 Cor. 13:4-7). We become concerned for people’s souls and their salvation, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9; c.f. Jno. 3:16-17).
Love controls our might. The Jews would recite Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to their children, so that it became a part of their entire being. Part of that was that you would “love… with all your might” (Deut. 6:4). When we love, we temper down our fleshly desires in our attempt to be more Christ-like. Christian conduct must contain self-control (2 Tim. 1:7; Tit. 2:6, 12; 1 Pet. 4:7; 2 Pet. 1:6; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:8; Acts 24:25; Prov. 25:28). Rather than indulging in selfish and sinful desires (Col. 3:5-9), we re-position our might under the power of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14). Love that controls our might will make sure we are prepared to run the race of faith (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Heb. 12:1-3).
Love completes our mindset. As we have seen, love centers on what matters: salvation of souls, and love controls a person’s might: putting ourselves under Christ’s power. Our mindset is to be on “the things above” (Col. 3:2). When we focus on what is heavenly, we will focus on things that are “true… honorable… right… pure… lovely… of good repute” (Phil. 4:8). Paul tells us, later, that when we “practice these things… the God of peace will be with” us (Phil. 4:9). Only through Jesus can we find and experience true peace and contentment (Jno. 14:6, 27; Acts 4:12; Phil. 4:7).
Christians are to be controlled by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14) and our lives better imitate our perfect example (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:21-23). Christ enables us to work for Him out of love because He gives us strength (1 Tim. 1:12; Phil. 4:13). It is our duty to exhibit sound doctrine and deeds… and the reason for that is because we love God and we love others.