Our Core ValuesWhat are we committed to?
2 Timothy 3:16 – 4:2 Preach the Word
The Protestant Reformation was built upon the weekly diet of Bible reading and preaching. Sequential expository preaching is a hallmark of Reformed Protestantism. It is the principle of expounding before the people of God what the Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining it’s meaning and applying it to faith and practice – the main point of the passage should be the main point of the sermon. In order to declare the full counsel of God, we believe the best approach to preaching is to work through entire books of the Bible.
John 4:23-24 In Spirit and Truth; 1 Corinthians 14:33-40 God is not a God of confussion…But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.; Psalm 29:1-2 Giving God the glory due his name; Heb. 12:28 – let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe
Our worship must be according to Scripture in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God. The Bible should not only regulate our corporate worship; it should also saturate our worship through singing the word, praying the word, reading the word, preaching the word, and seeing the word visibly in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The triune God is zealous for his own worship, therefore our aim must be his glory and not the preference of men.
Colossians 3:16 psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
Along with God honoring, biblically faithful hymns and spiritual songs, the Bible also commands us to sing the psalms. The psalms inform us how to pray, praise, and lament. By singing them we express the full spectrum of human experience and emotion with words inspired by God himself.
Administration of the Sacraments
1Corinthians 11:17-34 When you come together to eat
The Lord’s supper and baptism are true means of grace in promoting the spiritual well being of God’s church. They must not be neglected or ignored as mere signs, nor should they usurp the place of the word as though they should operate alone. We should strive for a regular, simple, and faithful observance of the sacraments in the life of the church that the church may know their identity with Christ and continue in their obedience to his will. It is our practice to administer and receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper twice each month.
High View of the Lord’s Day
Exodus 20:8-10 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy..; Mark 2:27-28 the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath; Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…
The Old Testament Sabbath command, as part of the moral law, has a weekly new covenant fulfillment in the first day of the week – the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day. The Scriptures teach us that the whole of that day, following the pattern of one day in seven, is to be spent in worship, deeds of mercy and necessity, and rest. What God commands for us is good for us and therefore we want to promote a high view of the Lord’s Day. There is a great blessed eternal Sabbath that awaits the church. Our weekly sabbaths in this age are a preparation and foretaste of that which is to come.
The term “family worship” is shorthand for the whole of family religion. This should include families spending regular time in Bible reading, singing of hymns and psalms, and prayer, along with regular attendance to public worship. We encourage our families to be together in God’s presence when the church assembles for corporate worship. The learning of doctrine through catechisms and other readings is also vital to the present and future health of the church as families grow in the knowledge of God. This family religion is primarily the responsibility of parents in general, and the head of the household in particular. It should be done in love with a view towards the good of the entire family nurtured in the Lord. However, family religion is not limited to a particular time each day. It is to be practiced continually in the home as the family lives daily; talking and teaching the truth about God in all spheres of life as our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable
The church must embrace the Scriptures in the entirety of it’s life. The Scriptures are our sole authority for faith and practice. They are sufficient to teach us everything that God preceptively wills us to know about himself, his salvation and the life that we live in him. Therefore, we must have a dependence upon the word of God in every aspect of the life of the church. We are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture, committed to do God’s work God’s way, committed to sit under it’s authority and to submit our lives to believe and do everything that it teaches
Confessionally Reformed Theology
2 Timothy 1:13-14 Retain the standard of sound words…
The official doctrinal standards of the PCA are the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. We believe they are an accurate and compelling summary of biblical truth and that we should embrace, affirm, and promote “Westminister Calvinism,” a warm and whole hearted embrace of the theology, ethos and praxis of our doctrinal standards. We should embrace the Confession honestly and with a whole hearted devotion to the truth that it promotes for the good of the church. The Confession is not our sole authority for faith and practice as the Scriptures are. However, it being subservient to the Scriptures, it is a masterpiece of biblical theology that we should learn and grow our churches around.
Vision for Church Planting / Evangelism / Missions
2 Timothy 4:5 do the work of an evangelist; 1Corinthians 1:17-18 preach the gospel; Matthew 28:18-20 Go therefore and make disciples; Acts 1:8 you will be my witnesses…even to the remotest part of the earth.
A Reformed and Presbyterian church should posses a love for the Word of God, a passion for sound and practical theology, and also a fervor for the souls of people in fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We long for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). We are given to the prayerful and financial support of missions near and far, locally and globally – in church planting, evangelism, campus ministry, and theological training for future ministers.
Biblical View of Sanctification and the Christian Life
Philippians 2:12-13 work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
True spiritual growth is seen in increasing holiness and self denial; but this work begins and ends with God. If conversion is the work of God, then we cannot assume that discipleship is alone the work of man. Discipleship is the work of God in the life of man as he conforms those he loves to the image of his Son, but man must cooperate in that work by applying himself to God’s means of grace, doing what he commands, and striving for holiness – without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). Both the law and gospel are necessary for our sanctification. Believers must live out of their vital faith-union with Christ as justified and adopted sons and daughters in obedience to their Father’s commands. The several uses of the law do not contradict the grace of the Gospel, but sweetly comply with it in the heart of the regenerate (Westminster Confession of Faith 19.7). Rather than setting one against the other, we must keep a proper biblical balance to safeguard against the errors of legalism and antinomianism. This must be taught, modeled, and lived in the church for healthy growth. True religion flows from the heart that God possess by his Spirit and Word. We desire to be those who drink deeply at the well of God’s throne of grace, those who think deeply at stores of his revealed wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and those who live deeply out of a vision of the majestic glories of God revealed in Christ.
A Biblical Understanding of the Gospel and Evangelism
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you were saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you..
The biblical gospel is “that God loves sinners at the cost of his Son.” It is not merely an aid to make our lives better, or that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”. Though these things may be partially true about the gospel they are not the truth of the gospel. Man is dead in sin and destined to spend eternity in hell under the eternal wrath and judgment of God. Therefore, man is in need of deliverance from the guilt and consequences of sin. He needs a new life that will give him a new destination. God has provided for this through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the gospel that the church needs. It is the gospel that the world needs. How we understand the gospel will also determine how we explain the gospel. People who greatly understand, embrace and love the gospel will be passionate and accurate in communicating it in word and deed. The gospel is the power of God to save those who are perishing. We must cultivate a culture of “gospel embracing and gospel sharing people” who trust God to take his gospel and bear fruit for his glory with it in the lives of others.
A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership, Government, and Discipline
Ephesians 4:8-13 When he ascended on high, he lead captive a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ; Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them;
Church membership, discipline and government are not trivial matters about which we may be indifferent. Christ has, in the Scriptures, established a government and order for the visible manifestation of his kingdom. The use of our gifts for the building up of Christ’s body, the “one another” commandments, as well as the responsibilities of and to the appointed officers of the church in biblical oversight and discipline all require formal church membership. Though biblically faithful government is not necessary for the existence of the church (the church’s “esse” or being), it is necessary for its health (the church’s “bene esse” or “well being”). We hold to Presbyterianism by divine right (jus divinum) – that it is the form of government taught in Scripture for the New Covenant church. We believe the right training of officers, the promotion of good order, and a biblical and theological understanding of church government are vital to healthy churches and we therefore want to champion a robust ecclesiology.
A Reformed Worldview
2 Corinthians 10:5 we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; 2 Peter 3:15 being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,
The Scriptures reveal that God would have us to think in a Christian manner about all of life. Therefore, we should live to promote a Reformed world and life view, because to be Reformed is to be Biblical. What does this mean? In brief, it involves: a commitment to the authority of the Scriptures; a belief in the sovereign, triune God who is creator and providential ruler of the World; the historical reality of the fall and sinfulness of man; the sovereign grace of God in salvation; and the nature of the Church. All of life can be seen and understood in these categories of the Reformed world and life view. This enables the church to be a witness to the world of the God who has revealed himself as the center of all of reality.
Luke 18:1 – Men ought always to pray
The Bible provides both command and example regarding prayer, not the least of which we find in the teaching and life of our Lord. Prayer, along with the Word and Sacraments, is a means of grace made effectual to the elect for salvation (Westminster Shorter Catechism Question and Answer 88). It is partially descriptive of the work of the ministry (Acts 6:4), a special part of worship (I Tim. 2:1), and to have a regular and continual place in the lives of all believers (Phil. 4:6; I Thess. 5:17). Through prayer we ascribe the praise and thanksgiving that is due to God, confess our sins, commune with him, and it is one of the means by which he is pleased to accomplish his purposes as we offer to him our petitions.
Commitment to Biblical Community
John 13:35 – By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another
The church, as the household of God (I Tim. 3:15), is described as a family. The example of the early church was that of a community created by God’s Word and Spirit, submitted to the teaching of the apostles, and living out their lives together in worship, fellowship, and love. Ortega Presbyterian Church is a community of people who are diverse in background yet united in fellowship through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We desire to welcome and show hospitality to the diversity of peoples represented in our congregation and in the city of Jacksonville. As Christ has redeemed a people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation we seek to value biblical diversity and treat one another with the dignity that is owed to all who are made in God’s image.