What We Believe
St. Matthew’s is a Christ-centered fellowship of believers from many ethnicities and from all ages.  We want to make a difference in our world by sharing the message of God’s love with as many people as possible.
 
We believe that God reveals himself through the teachings of the Bible, so we refer to the Bible as “God’s Message” or “God’s Word.”  Since there are no errors in God’s Word, we are committed to teaching all of its truths, even the ones that are unpopular, as hard as this may be.  Consider this: the sacred writings in which God condemns certain behaviors, thoughts, and words, are the same sacred writings in which God proclaims all sins forgiven through faith in Jesus - the Savior of the world.  God has never excluded even one sinner from his plan to save everyone and give them a happy afterlife.  Only people can exclude themselves through unbelief. 

All sinners are welcome at St. Matthew’s.  In fact our church was named after a tax-collector, someone who used to cheat people by collecting more tax than he was supposed to and pocketing the extra.  But when Jesus called Matthew to follow him, Matthew left all the cheating behind.  It doesn’t matter to us what sins you commit.  Come confess your sins to God with us sinners and then hear how much God loves us all because of Jesus - the holy Son of God.  What a blessing to have you become part of our fellowship of believers who encourage each other to walk in God’s ways as a thank-you to the Lord for saving us!
 
Because we’re forgiven through Jesus, we want to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).  This happens when we faithfully use God’s Word at home and in our church groups, especially on Sunday mornings.  After people have studied through our Bible Discovery Course, they know what we stand for, and they are eligible to become members of St. Matthew’s and to receive Holy Communion after that time.
 
Our congregation is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a church body headquartered in Milwaukee and consisting of about 1,250 member congregations spread across the United States.  We also have sister churches in other Lutheran church bodies around the world.  We, at St. Matthew’s, treasure the unity that we have with the people in our sister churches, and we are committed to maintaining this unity in both teaching and practice.
 
The early Lutherans wrote documents which make clear what we mean when we say, “we teach what the Bible teaches.”  These documents are called “The Lutheran Confessions.” 
  • To read a summary of these documents, click here
  • To read an English translation of the entire Lutheran Confessions, click here.
 
 
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We believe, teach and confess that there is one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), who has revealed himself in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). We do not, however, have three Gods, but one God. The ancient Christian church coined the term "triune" (three in one) in order to describe what is beyond human understanding. 
 
We believe, teach and confess that all people fail to be what God created us and commanded us to be, to live in God's holy image (sinlessness), to love God above all things and to love our neighbor perfectly. We are all sinful and naturally self-centered from conception (Psalm 51:5), and the divine punishment for this sin is death (Romans 5:126:23). Because of our sin there is nothing we can do to please God or earn his favor, "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). 
 
We believe, teach and confess that God is not willing to settle for us to "try hard" or to "make our best effort" to live a good and decent life. Instead, Jesus says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). In other words, trying hard is not good enough because it falls short of God's standard. God rightly demands absolute perfection because he created us to be perfect and is perfect himself. He is not in any way responsible for our imperfections; we are.
 
We believe, teach and confess that in his great mercy God sent his one and only Son Jesus into the world to be the world's perfect Savior from all sin and death, "that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). What we could not do because of our sin, Jesus has done perfectly as our substitute. Only Jesus can be this perfect substitute because he is both fully God (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3) and fully human (Hebrews 2:14-18).

We believe, teach and confess that Jesus lovingly sacrificed himself for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29). He willingly submitted to his Father's will and went to the cross (Isaiah 53:10). He loves all people unconditionally (Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:8). In other words, God doesn't love us because who of we are or what we've done; on that basis he could never love us because he is holy and we are sinful. Instead God loves us because of who he is, because "God is love" (1 John 4:7-10). Since God's love is unconditional, we can always rely on it; his love never fails. God's love and forgiveness is an objective reality in Christ Jesus.
 
We believe, teach and confess that Jesus is the God-man, 100% God and 100% human being. He is the Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary. He was born into this world to keep God's law perfectly in our place (Matthew 5:17) and to suffer and die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). Those who reject Jesus, reject the only true God (Luke 10:16).
 
We believe, teach and confess that Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body on Easter morning. This resurrection serves as powerful, divine proof that God has forgiven all sin for the sake of Jesus (Romans 4:25) and assures us of our own bodily resurrection from the dead on the Last Day (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
 
We believe, teach and confess that because of what Jesus has done, God has justified (declared "not guilty") the entire world freely by his grace (undeserved love) for the sake of Jesus (Romans 3:24). God has reconciled "the world to himself in Christ, not counting anyone's sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
 
We believe, teach and confess that all who trust in Jesus as their Savior freely receive God's forgiveness and eternal life (John 3:16,36) and become the children of God through faith (John 1:12,13). Only those who refuse to trust in Jesus as their Savior will suffer eternal death (Mark 16:16), even though God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

We believe, teach and confess that we are not saved because of our faith. We are saved byfaith (Ephesians 2:8,9). Faith is simple, child-like trust in the freely-given promises of God in Christ Jesus. Through his many unconditional promises and almighty power God inspires us to trust him (Romans 4:20,21). We can take no credit for our Christian faith (1 Corinthians 1:30,31), therefore Christians are wrong whenever they act self-righteously. We are to live as God's humble servants (Luke 17:10).

We believe, teach and confess that the Holy Spirit is the one who creates and preserves saving faith (trust) in our hearts through the hearing of God's Word and partaking in the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (Romans 10:17). Just as God gives us our physical life as a free gift (we do nothing to earn or deserve it), so also he gives us our new spiritual life as a free gift (we do nothing to earn or deserve it). In other words, we do not make "our decision for Jesus." Jesus chooses us simply by his grace, his undeserved love (Matthew 11:25-27).
 
We believe, teach and confess that in Holy Baptism God makes a commitment to us. In baptism he promises and gives the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 3:21). All who believe the promises of God given in Baptism will be saved (Mark 16:16). We baptize infants because they need these promises as well, since they are sinful from birth and sometimes die as a result (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12). 
 
We believe, teach and confess that in Holy Communion Jesus gives us his true body and blood under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26-28). Even unbelievers receive his body and blood in this Supper, although it is to their judgment (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). This holy supper is to be shared only by those who are unified in the true Christian faith (1 Corinthians 10:14-22).
 
We believe, teach and confess that Christians produce good works not to merit or earn anything from God (something they cannot do anyway). Instead Christians produce good works because that's what Christians naturally do, in the same way that a good vine produces fruit (John 15:1-8). Good works are "fruits of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25
 
We believe, teach and confess that Jesus will return on the Last Day and judge all people. "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). We reject any teaching of a "thousand year" reign of Christ on earth (millenialism). Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).  Revelation 11:15 says, "He will reign for ever and ever."

 
"Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." ~ 1 Peter 1:13