Our mission is to simply “Love God and Love People”
We, at First Southern, believe in the beautiful simplicity of what Jesus said was the greatest command: Love God and Love People (Matthew 22:36-40). We are a church that believes that the Gospel, and God’s love, is for all people and it is our mission for every person to know our Savior’s greatness.
To understand salvation, we must first understand why it’s needed - sin. There’s no denying we are all sinners and by definition sin means to “miss the mark” (Romans 3:23/ 1 John 3:4). What mark? It means we have all ‘missed’ God’s perfect standard - His law, Word, and holiness. His Word says that the penalty of sin is death (see God’s warning in Genesis 2-3). God even warned Adam and Eve to not eat the fruit on the tree, but they broke His law and did it anyway! What was their punishment? They were banished from the garden and ultimately would experience death (Romans 6:23).
This the beauty of God’s Word: the whole Bible is about how a holy and loving God redeems (buys back) the sinfulness of mankind. The Story of the Bible demonstrates that while we all have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6), God seeks to reconcile us to himself (2 Corinthians 5:18). The Bible clearly shows us that no person could ever earn this salvation that is needed. However, God would give a promise (Genesis 3:15) of One who would! Through His chosen people, one day a Redeemer would come and right the wrongs we have done (Galatians 3:8). This Redeemer’s name is Jesus (Titus 2:14).
God sent his only Son, Jesus, to come live a perfect life (2 Corinthians 5:21), preach the good news of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43), and to become the perfect sacrifice to conquer sin and death (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus willingly died on a cross to become the ransom for us (1 Timothy 2:6). Praise be to God, however, because Jesus rose from the grave three days later. By this act, Jesus conquered the curse of sin (1 Corinthians 15), and if we believe in him, we may have a renewed relationship with God.
Scripture makes it clear: If you confess (agree with God) that by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9), as the Lord (boss) of your life, and you submit under His authority, then you are SAVED (Romans 10:9)! Saved from death… given eternal life (John 3:16). So, when a Believer/ Christian uses the word, “Salvation,” they are saying that one has been saved from sin and death by trusting their life to Jesus and following him (Matthew 16:24-26). We believe this new-birth is the work of the Father through Jesus’ sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s convicting and drawing whereby we become new creations in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We believe that Jesus has eternally existed as the Son of God. As a part of the narrative story of God’s redemption, Jesus became human.
In other words, God became one of us. The Church describes this as the Incarnation. The redemption narrative, which we call the Bible, continues as Jesus not only becomes human, but is born to a virgin and lives a sinless, perfect life on earth, allowing him to make right everything that had been done wrong in Adam. Jesus chose to die on a cross as a sacrifice for the penalty that should have been ours and his resurrection three days later made new life possible for us in this life and the next. What Jesus did during his time on earth and the character of his being provide a consistent reminder of what we should be about with our lives.
We believe that God has eternally existed. God himself shows us his desire for a relationship by being relational in himself. He has continually revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each part of what we know as the Trinity has distinct personal attributes, but these do not divide the nature or essence of God’s being. Being created in God’s image means that God is in himself relational and that He created man to be in relationship with Himself.
We believe that The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
The church has never been, nor will ever be perfect. However, its shortcomings cannot deter us from our purpose as God’s primary instrument of change in the world.
We know that we were designed for community with other people, and the place of greatest community in the world should be the church. The church is not a corporation or a massive company. It is a new humanity created by the resurrection of Jesus Christ that expresses itself as a community of faith in Christ. The Scriptures describe it as a body or a family. Our church takes seriously our role to serve out community and exist as a place that offers people hope and purpose, even as we challenge people to discover and live a Christ-centered life.