God loves the world and all creation. In Jesus Christ, God became human. Through the Holy Spirit, God is present and active in this world. All people are invited to enter into a personal relationship with the living God.
The early church wrote the so-called Nicene and Apostolic creeds. When we confess our faith together by saying these creeds, we also express solidarity with the world-wide church.
The core of the Christian faith can be summarized in the confession that “Jesus is Lord.” (Rom 10:9) and with these words from the gospel of John: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Who is God?
God is the Creator who gives and sustains all life. God is holy and just. In him there is no darkness. At the same time, God is love and mercy. He longs to be in a relationship with all people.
The eternal God became one of us, He took on a human nature in Jesus Christ. God knows what it means to be human and He is familiar with our struggles. We are not alone in an empty universe. In fact, God “is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27)
God has revealed himself in many different ways – in the glory of his creation, in the longing of our heart and through our conscience. But the most important revelation of God is found in the Bible, which is God’s Word. By studying the bible, we understand who God is and what his will is for our lives.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is the son of God who became human and made his home among us. Because of Jesus, we can understand who God is – full of grace and truth.
During his time on earth, Jesus showed us what love is. He healed and restored many people whose lives were forever transformed. Using stories, Jesus explained what the Kingdom of God is like and how we can find it. Although many people followed Jesus, others were provoked by his claim to be the Son of God.
Jesus was sentenced to death and died on a cross. But after three days, he was resurrected! As Christians, we believe that something great and mystical happened through this event. Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the power of sin, which separates us from God and one another. His sacrifice makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God. The God of love won over death!
The struggle continues as long as we live in this world. But we believe that Jesus will come back one day to liberate and restore all creation. There will be no more suffering and injustice. Everything will be made new.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. The Spirit was there when God made the heavens and the earth. The Spirit also led Jesus and gave him strength during his time on earth.
Shortly before his death, Jesus promises to send the Helper (as the Holy Spirit also is called). Every believer can be filled by the Holy Spirit and receive power to live as a follower of Jesus. A life that is characterized by what the Bible describes as spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The Holy Spirit also gives us gifts to build up the church and power and boldness to share our faith with others.
Why do we read the Bible?
The Bible is God’s Word for all people, for all time. It is the most read book in the world and unique in many ways. It was written in three languages, by around 40 authors with very different backgrounds, over a time span of about 1,600 years. The main message in the Bible is that God in his love seeks a relationship with people and wants to save his world.
When we read the Bible, we can understand who God is and how we should live. We recognize ourselves in the people we meet in the Bible, even though they lived in a different time and culture. They struggled with the same existential questions that we do.
The Bible is God’s living Word and it has the power to transform our lives. Each person can read, study and understand the message of the Bible individually. At the same time, we need to read, study and interpret the Bible together with other believers, so that we come to a greater understanding of God. Spending time in the Bible is a way of meeting God and receiving power and guidance for our everyday lives.
What is the church?
The church is the fellowship of believers, people that together want to follow Jesus. We are created for relationships – with God, but also with one another. The church is likened to the body of Christ. We are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth, extending his love and grace to others. Jesus has promised to be with us always (Immanuel means “God with us”).
People of all ages and with many different cultural, ethnic and church backgrounds gather in Immanuel Church. Our common faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is what unifies us. We believe that our fellowship is enriched when we share different experiences and interpretations of the Christian faith in a spirit of humility, love and care.
We want to be a church where the meeting with Jesus transforms – me, you and the world. We try to live out Jesus’ mission to “to proclaim the good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18-19)
Why do we celebrate baptism and communion?
In Immanuel Church we have two so called sacraments: baptism and communion (or the Lord’s Supper). Sacraments are specific practices that Jesus gave to the church for its own sake. When we celebrate the sacraments together, we are reminded of what Jesus has done for us.
Baptism is a sign of a new life in Christ Jesus and a celebration of our incorporation into the body of Christ. Baptism is a mystery of God’s grace and that is why as the Uniting Church in Sweden, we emphasize the sacrament of baptism, whether of infants or adults. We believe that whenever baptism is performed, it conveys the same grace, for all grace is God’s. We also acknowledge that we are called to live into our baptism every day. To grow in every way more and more like Christ.
Communion (or the Lord’s Supper) is a meal in fellowship with Christ Jesus and with people that want to believe in him. It is open to all who seek this fellowship. We remember what Christ did for us and celebrate the grace that we receive as a result of his sacrifice. During communion, we share bread and wine. When Jesus instituted communion, he spoke of the bread as his body and the wine as his blood.
Communion is also a sign of a hopeful future. An expression of the desire for God’s Kingdom to come and for justice and peace to rule here on earth. We share communion together until Jesus comes back.