What and in whom we believe:
More often than not, particularly for Christians, worship is often perceived solely as that time during the Church service where song and praise are lifted up to God! This is certainly a part of worship, but only a small part. Worship is a life style, not merely a song sung. In Romans 12:1-2 the apostle Paul says that we are to offer up to God our bodies, or our entire lives, as a living sacrifice as worship. Therefore, all that we would do in life would or would not be an expression of worship depending on the position of our heart attitude. The teaching of the Word, meditation, and practical application are all a part of expressing worship to God! What we do with our money can be an act of worship if it is given to the things of Godís kingdom for the furthering of His purposes. Our actions and behavior, or conduct towards others in our daily life would also be included. Our speech, our thought life, our motives, our emotions and the rest are all included in this plea of the apostle to let our lives be entirely given over to God as an expression of worship, adoration, gratitude, and love towards God.
As a body of believers here in Rome, we pray that our entire lives individually and collectively would be a fragrant offering of worship to our precious God and Savior bringing glory to his name and blessing for our lives. Our actual worship services, which include: praise in song, teaching in the Word, prayer, and fellowship, are in English and Italian. Jesus said worship must be in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24) and so we pray for a sincere atmosphere of worship and the blessing of Godís filling presence in our midst in that aspect of our worship lives. We welcome you to come and join together with us as we seek to Worship the true and living God. May our worship go beyond words and song!
We Believe worship of God should be Spiritual. Therefore: We remain flexible and yielded to the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
We Believe worship of God should be Inspirational. Therefore: We give a great place to music in our worship.
We Believe worship of God should be Intelligent. Therefore: Our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshipped.
We Believe worship of God is Fruitful. Therefore: We look for His Love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshipping Him.
We Believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.
The Word of God has much to say about the importance of the teaching of the Word of God, receiving that teaching and then living it out. For example in the book of James chapter one verse twenty-two James exhorts us to be doers of Godís Word and not hearer only! In Acts 2:42 after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus we find that the teaching of the Word was one of the dynamics that the beginning Church found important to maintain. God blessed them for it too! Romans 10:17 reveals to us that faith comes by the hearing of Godís Word! Jesus said to His disciples in John 17:17 that they were sanctified by the truth of Godís Word. Of course the list goes on. Therefore, we give great importance to the systematic teaching of Godís Word; the entire Word from Genesis to Revelation.
Teaching alone is not enough. There needs to be that accompanied aspect of prophecy as the Holy Spirit uses what is being taught to convict and reveal truth specifically in each individuals life. Currently, we are studying verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter through the book of Genesis on Wednesday evenings. Genesis being the book of beginnings and the beginning of God working with and through man as God desires to dwell with man. On Sundays we are finishing the book of Romans finding out so much about what God says concerning the state of man and His purposes for manís salvation and the reality of a joyful Christian experience in the now!
In Hebrews 10:25 God speaks to us about the importance of Christians gathering together and sharing in the things of the Spirit. We call this fellowship and the bible warns us not to lack in this! There is more to fellowship than being together physically. Jesus must be the basis for and the fruit of our gathering together. Godís desire with fellowship is to work love in and through us towards one another. As we open our hearts to each other and seek to be genuine regarding our spiritual conditions and needs the love of God becomes the difference for healing, change, covering of sin, etc. By products of true fellowship would be meeting one anotherís needs through prayer, mercy, listening, counsel according to Godís Word, and so forth.
Fellowship is also something that does not take place only at ďChurchĒ. Wherever two or more Christians gather together there can be that special dynamic of Godís spirit ministering among them and blessing them. Fellowship includes strength and security for every member of the Lordís Church, but is also a time of praise and worship to God. Where Godís people praise Him God magnifies His presence and ministers to His people. Thus, fellowship is a time of ministering unto God and God touching His people as well. We all need that consistent touch and ministry of the Lord Jesus for our lives. Lastly, fellowship is also a place for accountability. Sometimes God uses other people around us to convict us, instruct us, or encourage us in the faith. We can help keep each other responsible to the calling of God to live righteous and holy lives. Please donít forsake fellowship with the people of God! Perhaps God would have you make your home for fellowship among us here at Calvary Chapel Rome. It would be our pleasure to have the opportunity to serve you in your life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Prayer simply defined is communication with God! God has given us prayer as a way to be connected to Him and His purposes for our lives as well as seeing his will be brought to pass. Prayer is to be directed to God only. Jesus said we could pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9) or to Him (John 14:13-14). The Scriptures declare that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). Therefore, prayer to dead family members, declared saints, Mary, or anybody else, is forbidden and against the Scriptures thus an abomination to God!
God makes available to us His power and resources in prayer. He says that if we will ask for things that line up with His good nature and will that He will do what we ask. James on the other hand tells us that we do not receive from God for a couple of reasons. Either we do not ask, or when we do ask we do it simply for our own lustful, selfish pleasures (James 4:2-3). With this in mind, may we ever seek to learn the will of God by revelation from His Word and then ask Him to work according to who He is and what He knows is best in everything.
Another thing to consider about prayer is that it is a spiritual exercise. Like any sport or discipline, it requires work and practice, diligence and consistency. In Luke 18 Jesus talked about the persistent widow and the harsh judge. The judge wasnít going to hear her but she was so persistent that he finally gave her the judgment that she desired. Jesus also commented on the importance of perseverance in prayer giving us this idea of an increased pursuit of God for our needs (Mt 7:7-8).
Lastly, we must pray in faith. The Bible says that those who come to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. We are also told that God cannot be pleased without faith. Therefore, when we make our requests to God, if we make them according to His will and not our own vain desires for pleasure, and believe Him for what it is we have asked, He will do it!
Prayer is communication with God but it is also communion with God. To commune with someone is to share with that person intimately. God has given us a wonderful privilege to be in His presence and share our hearts with Him. In turn we can also hear His heart towards us. It is no small thing to have intimate time with the all knowing, all loving Creator of the Universe. Time in communion with the Lord brings peace, rest, and clarity for our thoughts, direction for our lives, and pure joy. May God give us grace to understand more about this wonderful privilege that He has made available to all who are called His children by the blood of Jesus Christ, and may our desire for communion with Him in prayer grow with passion.
In I Corinthians eleven the apostle Paul explains to us what communion is; furthermore, when and how we are to celebrate it. Verse twenty-three reveals that this was something that the Lord Jesus himself commissioned. Next we find several interesting and important things that must be considered concerning communion; also referred to as the Lordís Supper. When the Lord instructed His disciples regarding this celebration He said, ďas often as you do thisĒ, to do it in remembrance of Him. Some people dogmatically believe and teach that the communion celebration should be observed every week. And if it is not you are a bad, disobedient Christian not following the Word of God. This is clearly not what the Bible teaches. It says ďas often as you do itĒ signifying that it is left up to the worshipers to decide when. Granted it is a wonderful and holy sacrament to observe. Christians were meeting and still do meet on the first day of the week. Communion was certainly a common part of gathering together, but it could easily become just another ritual like getting dressed in the morning if done too frequently and without caution as to not let it become mere mechanics.
On the other hand, as long as it is done with a sincere heart and Jesus at the center it could never be observed too much! It seems to parallel marriage in that way. We tell each other as spouses that we love each other. But, it can become just words we say without too much real thought, genuine feeling, or meaning if we do not guard ourselves and keep the relationship pure and fresh.
The second thing to take note of, and perhaps most important, is that the Lord said to do it ďin remembrance of meĒ. It must be clear that the observance of communion, partaking of the bread that represents Jesusí body broken and the wine that represents His innocent blood shed for sin, is symbolic and is to be done in remembrance. That is not to say that it does not hold great spiritual significance. But literally eating the body of Jesus so as to have His life transfused into ours, or merit certain graces, it most certainly is not.
As we share together in communion both with each other as fellow believers and with Jesus as our Redeemer, we remember the price paid with grateful hearts, we honor him, and we commune with Him in the Spirit based on the atoning sacrifice made once, for all over two thousand years ago! What a privilege!
The whole Bible is our creed. Therefore, any effort to define what we believe necessitates a desire to emphasize the whole Word of God as the source of our core beliefs. Furthermore, it seems unwise to be owned by the labels of much of Christendom, whether itís Fundamental, Pentecostal, Calvinism, Armenianism, Charismatic, Dispensational, Reformed, etc...
Itís unrealistic to think that any individual, man-made system of beliefs is completely error free or conversely, without merit at all. It is therefore our sincere desire to seek to teach the Bible, being true to its original languages, respectful to the historical context, the context of each passage and the accepted and normal use of language, i.e. being able to discern the difference between a parable and a proverb, a prophecy and an historical account, etc... We trust that this will enable us to understand the intended meaning and truth that is to be found in Godís inspired word.
Our nonnegotiable, core beliefs which transcend labels are: We believe in the inspiration of the Bible; in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the virgin birth of Christ. We believe in Jesus Christís blood atonement which provides forgiveness from sin and delivers us from the judgement for sin that awaits all mankind. We believe in His bodily resurrection and second return to establish His Kingdom upon the earth, followed by the millennial reign of Christ after which He will create a new heaven and a new earth.