Who We Are
Lisbon - Our town of about 4,100 people is situated in St. Lawrence County in northern New York State along the St. Lawrence River which borders Canada. The earliest recorded meeting of the Lisbon RP Church was a prayer meeting held in the home of John Smith (one of our founding elders and ancestor to some in the congregation today) in 1827. The congregation was officially established and recognized by the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America on September 23, 1840. Our current building was built in 1844. Though the Lisbon RPC might be considered a "little country church" we have been given a great task by our Lord Jesus Christ to faithfully proclaim His Gospel and be a beacon of light and hope in our community.
Reformed - "Reformed" describes the Biblical doctrines clearly presented during the Great Reformation of the Church of the sixteenth century. This theology is often nicknamed "Calvinism" for John Calvin the great theologian of Geneva. Reformed teaching understands God as supreme, the Lord God Almighty. It is He Who saves fallen sinners who are unable to save themselves. In eternity past God determined to save His people from their sins, in history He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a sinless life in their place and die on a cross to pay for their sins. In time God changes the individual's heart from hatred toward God to a heart that seeks God and believes in the Person and work of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The individual God saves does not lose his new relation with God but perseveres in holiness and good works until the day God takes the Christian to his eternal reward.
Presbyterian - The word "Presbyterian" comes from the Greek word for "elder". "Presbyterian" describes how the Church is governed. Each Reformed Presbyterian Church has a group of Elders as described by 1 Timothy 3:1-7 who are elected by the congregation. The Elders lead the Church as shepherds over the spiritual life of God's people. The Churches of a geographical region are connected together as their Elders meet in a "Presbytery" (a meeting of "Presbyters" or elders). Finally, all the Churches meet together at Synod where the Elders from all the Churches work together for the advancement of the Gospel of Christ.
Church - As a church, the Lisbon RPC is a local "body of Christ, which He has redeemed with His own blood, to be a chosen people unto Himself" and we believe it is our mission, along with other faithful bodies of believers "to preserve, maintain and proclaim to the whole world the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of God; to gather into her fellowship those of every race and people who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and promise obedience to Him; to build them up in their most holy faith, and train them to be faithful witnesses for Christ in all his offices; to maintain the ordinances of divine worship in their purity; witness against all evil; and in every way to seek the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth." - (Reformed Presbyterian Testimony 25:1,2)
Each member of the Lisbon Reformed Presbyterian Church gives assent to the Covenant of Communicant Membership which briefly summarize our beliefs:
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life?
2. Do you believe in the one living and true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Scriptures?
3. Do you repent of your sin; confess your guilt and helplessness as a sinner against God; profess Jesus Christ, Son of God, as your Savior and Lord; and dedicate yourself to His service: Do you promise that you will endeavor to forsake all sin, and to conform your life to His teaching and example?
4. Do you promise to submit in the Lord to the teaching and government of this church as being based upon the Scriptures and described in substance in the Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America? Do you recognize your responsibility to work with others in the church and do you promise to support and encourage them in their service to the Lord? In case you should need correction in doctrine or life, do you promise to respect the authority and discipline of the church?
5. To the end that you may grow in the Christian life, do you promise that you will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper you?
6. Do you purpose to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness in all the relationships of life, faithfully to perform your whole duty as a true servant of Jesus Christ, and seek to win others to Him?
7. Do you make this profession of faith and purpose in the presence of God, in humble reliance upon His grace, as you desire to give your account with joy at the Last Great Day?
Our Message: Hope for Today
There is so much going on in the world today that is discouraging. Economic turbulence, wars and violence, drug and alcohol abuse and shattered families are just a few of the many challenges facing people today. Is there any relief? Is there any hope for something different in our lives? We at the Lisbon Reformed Presbyterian Church believe that there is Hope for Today. That Hope comes through the Good News of Jesus Christ. Here is a brief outline of that Good News:
1. We have a great need. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The Bible also tells us that the penalty for our sin is death (Romans 6:23) and eternal separation from God. This means that we all have broken God’s Law and are unable to stand before Him, both now and in eternity.
2. We cannot meet this need on our own. But there is another problem, not only do we have a great need but we are unable to meet that need because of our sin. Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Is there anyone bold enough to say that they are perfect? And to make matters worse God tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that even the good we do (our righteousness) “are like filthy rags” in God’s sight because of our sinfulness. So we can’t depend on our own good deeds to close the gap between us and God. If perfection is the standard we must meet in order to restore fellowship with God and we can’t work our way in, how will we ever get there? Are we without hope?
3. A Perfect Solution has been offered. The Bible assures us there is hope because of what Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, accomplished for us. Jesus is able to sympathize with us because He endured all the sufferings and temptations we endure “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ). Because Jesus perfectly kept God’s Law, He alone could make amends between God and Mankind. The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus took our sin upon Himself and even paid the penalty of death we deserved by offering up His own life as the once for all sacrifice for our sins. What great news – because of Jesus our sin can be forgiven (1 John 1:7)! Jesus is the Perfect Solution.
4. What Next? God promises in Romans 10:9-11 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. This is the Good News of Hope today.
Our Elders and Deacons:
Pastor Steve Rockhill and his wife Maria have been serving the Lisbon RPC since June 2002. They have five children ages 6-15. Pastor Rockhill is a graduate of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Don Smith has been serving as a ruling elder since 1988. He and his wife Gwen have six children.
Lowell Smith has served as a deacon since 1961. He and his wife Helen have two children.
Jeff Hill has served as a deacon since 1999. He and his wife Melissa have six children.
Mark Rusgrove has served as a deacon since 2007. He and his wife Cathy have two children.
We are thankful for such faithful servants the Lord has given us.