Our story - and yours - begins with CREATION. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Human beings are not a random accident. You have dignity and value and worth because you are made in the image of a personal God who created the world and everything in it. Maybe you're skeptical about the existence of a Creator. But if so, you've got to explain how we got here. Nothing comes from nothing. Only something powerful and personal could create beings that are powerful and personal.
The story of humanity also includes a dramatic FALL from grace. For centuries, philosophers have pondered the question: Whats wrong with the world? British novelist G. K. Chesteron answered this question most memorably: "I am." The problem isn't "out there" - with society or education or religion or government or economics. The problem is within. You and I are what's wrong with the world. Deep inside every human soul is a seed of rebellion agains God that fuels every visible evil, from war and oppression to self-righteousness and snobbery. Christian theology call this the doctrine of sin.
At Florida Baptist Church, we believe in sin. Not in a moralistic, condemning way, but in a matter-of-fact, realistic way. We really believe that the world is desperately broken and in need of redemption, and that the only way the world changes...is if WE change.
If WE are the problem, then the solution - the healing of our brokenness and the defeat of evil - can only come from outside of us. And this is why Christians place so much hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell the story of a Savior - Jesus - who entered human time, space, and history to bring REDEMPTION to the world through his suffering and sacrifice.
The Scriptures teach that Jesus was completely God - the second person of the Trinity - and also completely human. He came into the world to set people free from bondage to sin. The way he did so was to substitute himself for his people - to allow sin to crush him so that it wouldn't crush us. (If yo think about it, this idea - redemption through substitution, one person sacrificing himself so that others can go free - is at the heart of every good story you've ever heard.) In his death, Jesus took upon himself all the evil and suffering of human sin and took it into the grave, defeating it's power. Then, the Scriptures say (and history attests), Jesus rose from the dead, displacing his victory over sin, death, and evil. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is Revelation 21:5: "Behold, I am making all things new." Redemption doesn't simply mean the salvation of individual souls; it means the restoring of the whole creation back to it's original good.
Florida Baptist Church is a church where this good news about Jesus is always front and center. We want people to hear this news, rest in it, believe in it, and delight in it. If you hear us talk a lot about "the gospel", this is why. We want you to become a Christian - to admit your need for redemption, receive the gift of new life that Jesus offers, and become a worshipper of him.
Where is history going? What's the destiny, the future, the goal of human existence? You have an answer to this question, even if you haven't thought about it. Your life is "aimed at" something. You believe this story ends somehow.
And Christians believe the human story ends with a glorious future. Some people call it "heaven" but heaven isn't some otherworldly realm. It's a renewed. version of what exists now. Imagine this world we know and love - renewed, restored, renovated. Full of beauty and glory and majesty, and free from sin and suffering and pain and death. That's the glorious future that awaits the people of God: "a new heaven and new earth" (Revelation 21:1).
Florida Baptist Church is a church anchored in this future hope. We live joyfully in the present, despite the suffering and sadness of life, because we know God holds the future. We pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be don, on earth as it is in heaven." because we want to see life on earth look a little bit more like the life to com. And we hold our story loosely, because we know that Florida Baptist Church will not last forever.
And neither will your life. You will die someday. We all will. now is your chance - to think about God, to wrestle with the claims of Jesus, to consider what you're living for. We invite yo auto join us on that quest.