Legacy: Gospel: We have a message

Sunday Sermon Series Legacy

The overarching theme for this three week series comes from 1 Corinthians 15:3. In this series we will see that we have a legacy and that the Gospel is at the heart of it. 

Luke 19:1-10 - the story of Zacchaeus, yeah, the wee little man who climbed up a sycamore tree.  

BIG Idea: The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).

The Gospel is good news for the worst and the difficult to reach (Luke 19:2). … Zacchaeus was a tax collector. And he was rich. Throughout the Gospel accounts we see that tax collectors are thieves and despised. And Jesus himself says that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven. Zacchaeus represents the worst and most difficult to reach of us. 

The Gospel comes as an encounter with Jesus (Luke 19:3-5). … Zacchaeus was short and couldn't see over the crowd when Jesus came through town. He chose to revert to a child-like action and climbed a tree so he could see. Then Jesus came by and said He would stay at Zacchaeus' house.

  • Notice: Who is seeking whom. … Zacchaeus seeked Jesus and Jesus seeked Zacchaeus. God is sovereign and people are responsible. We must seek Jesus knowing He is always seeking us.

  • Notice: The ugliness of self-righteousness. … Even while Zacchaeus is still lost, Jesus extends an offer of friendship. It was grace in action. When we become self-righteous, we also become allergic to grace. That is the opposite of what Jesus does here.

The response to the Gospel is faith, obedience, and repentance (Luke 19:5-8). … Zacchaeus showed faith, immediate obedience, and radical repentance. 

The effect of the Gospel is joy (Luke 19:6). … Remember the parable about the man who found the treasure in the field and sold all his belongings to buy the field? That's what Zacchaeus did here. 

The Gospel is the power of God for us and the world (Luke 19:9-10). … Not only was Zacchaeus saved that day, but his family saw the change and was also saved. This is a great example of why it's important for the leader of a household to live out a faithful life. This is how the legacy is passed on. 

What kind of Gospel Legacy are you living into?

What kind of Gospel Legacy are you passing on?

Family and Church

Sunday Sermon

God has created two institutions, two communities, to provide fellowship and support for our lives:

God created the family (Mark 10:6-8). … Jesus quoted Genesis and said that God humans male and female. That is the first part of the blueprint of a family. The second part is that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Marriage is a joining of a man and woman for life. Together the man and woman have children and raise them. 

Proverbs to think about:

For husbands and wives: Proverbs 14:1 … Are you building up your family or tearing it down?

For parents and children: Proverbs 23:22 … Don't give up on each other. 

Jesus created the church (Matthew 16:15-19). … Jesus started the church with His disciples. The Greek word for "church" means a gathering of people. It's good to have access to church online, but the intent of church is for us to be together. And Jesus tells us the church will never die. Individual churches may go away if they turn from Biblical teachings but the global church will always exist. 

Ideally, the family and the church are to be in a mutual symbiotic relationship. They are to work together to benefit one another, like flowers and bees. … Without each other flowers and bees wouldn't thrive. They would struggle. The flower produces nectar for the bee and the bee pollinates flowers. Family and church have a similar relationship. The church provides spiritual food and guidance for families and families are what spread the Gospel and help keep the church active and growing. 

The family is to be like a little church (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). … The family is supposed to pray and discuss what God has done for them. Parents are supposed to pass on the knowledge of God to their children. 

The church is to be like a family (1 Timothy 5:1-3). … We are told to treat other members of the church like family members. That's why our church really emphasizes connection groups and Wednesday night classes. That is where you really create and develop relationships. 

Sometimes we let these two get out of balance in our lives. Sometimes we focus too much on one or the other and neglect the other. We might spend a lot of time at church but not encourage the teachings at home or don't spend time with each other at home. Or maybe we go to all the games and concerts and try to encourage godly living, but we're hardly ever at church. Both are important and should be treated as such.

The Christian Hope

Sunday Sermon

Our church has lost a number of members since the pandemic started (not necessarily from COVID). Today our pastor recognized these people at the start of the sermon. Some of them were never given a funeral or memorial service due to the pandemic, so it was good to be able to recognize them and celebrate their lives as well as that they are now in Heaven, fully realizing the hope we have as Christians. 

The Christian hope is a two-part hope:

  • When you die, your spirit departs your body and goes to be with Jesus. Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59-60; Philippians 1:22-23 … When God made mankind, there were two components: dust from the ground and breath from God. That breath is our spirit. When we die they separate and return from whence they came; the dust to the ground and the spirit to God to be judged. For christians saved by the blood of Christ, the spirit is allowed into Heaven with Jesus, which is better by far. 

  • When Jesus returns, he will raise your body. Your spirit will be reunited with your body. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 … Traditionally, this is why christians do burials. We believe the bodies will be raised again. But let's not forget that our God is all powerful. He could just easily gather the ashes from cremation and put them back together. When Jesus returns, those who are dead in Christ will be rejoined with its spirit in a glorified body and carried up to Christ. Then those who are still alive will also join Christ. 

This hope does not apply to everyone. It applies to anyone who believes in Jesus (John 11:25). … Jesus is life. The only way to eternal life is through Him. We will all exist somewhere in eternity, but only through Jesus will we have eternal life in Heaven.


Sunday Sermon

A stereotype is an idea, thought, or belief that people have about a person, place, or thing, or group of people, which may be true, partly true, or false. … Just like those Dude Perfect videos show different stereotypes, there are some stereotypes of Christians that people believe. 

Stereotypes Believed about Christians.

Stereotype number one: Christians are hypocritical. … What's a hypocrite? It's someone whose behavior doesn't line up with what they preach. In Matthew 23 1-7 Jesus condemns hypocrites. We're told being a hypocrite is wrong. In Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus condemns the pharisees for being hypocrites. It's pretty clear that we are supposed to not be hypocrites. Let's live what we preach. 

Stereotype number two: Christians are judgmental. … Judgmental people rush to conclusions and believe they are always right, lacking compassion and full of arrogance. In Luke 6:37-42 Jesus speaks against blindly judging others without taking into account our own shortcomings. We must take care of our own faults and sins before judging others for theirs. It is best for our first thoughts to be ones of grace and understanding. 

Stereotype number three: Christians are legalistic. … Legalism can be damaging in a couple ways. It can make Christianity seem like just a list of rules and it can falsely add to the Gospel. Acts 15:1, 5-11 tells us we don't have to be perfect to be Christians and in Mark 2:17 Jesus says He came for the sick, not the healthy; He came to help sinners. 

Stereotype number four: Christians are ignorant of their own faith. … It's important to be able to defend our own faith. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows us how we should use God's Word to prepare ourselves for that. Gd's Word teaches us truth and rebukes us when we are wrong. 1 Peter 3:15 says we should be prepared to defend our faith. How? Not with hypocrisy; not with judgmental tone; not with legalism. But with kindness. A study by Lifeway Research from 2014 showed that approximately 60% of Christians read their Bible at least once a week. That leaves 40% who don't. In a survey from 2019, around 70% said they read the Bible at least once a week. That's still 30% who don't. If we don't read the Word of God, how can we know about our faith? We must read the Bible, learn what it says, and live it. 

Five things to fix these stereotypes

  1. Read the Bible … It's how we learn about God. 

  2. Pursue Holiness … Throughout the Bible, God is never lackadaisical about sin. Sometimes it's easy for us to shrug our own sin off, but we should be actively trying to remove it from our lives. 

  3. Grow in Your Faith … Growing in faith leads to better understanding. 

  4. Pray … Everything we do should be under the umbrella prayer. 

  5. Treat Others how You Want to be Treated … It's the golden rule and a great way of showing others that we care, that Jesus cares. 

The only way we can get rid of these stereotypes is to live differently. Read the Bible. Learn what it teaches. Live it out (or as a Steven Curtis Chapman song says, "Live It Out Loud.")

When Does a Person Become Accountable to God?

Sunday Sermon

When Does a Person Become Accountable to God? What Happens to Infants and Children When They Die?

There are two different views on these questions: 

  1. Original Sin: Every person inherits from Adam sin and guilt. … This doctrine was developed by Augstin around 400 AD and became the view of the Roman Catholic Church. This is what leads to the practice of infant baptisms. The Protestant Reformation holds a view that people are saved by faith alone, noty by baptism. However, the problem of young children dying before professing faith still existed and they needed a solution for it, but instead of infant baptisms, it was said that the faith of the parents saved the babies. 

  2. The Baptist View: Every person inherits from Adam a sinful nature but not guilt. … Baptists took the reformation further. We can only be saved by our own faith. The faith of our parents cannot save us. However, Baptists also believe that young children who cannot comprehend the law are not yet held accountable. 

What does the Bible say?

Romans 5:12-13: Sin entered the world through one man, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. … This verse indicates that where the law is not comprehended, there is no accountability. Young children do not comprehend the concept of sin or law and are thus not held accountable.

Romans 14:12: Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. … We will be held accountable for our own sin, not anyone else's. We don't inherit sin and guilt from our parents or even from Adam. 

Romans 7:9: Once I was alive apart from the law, but when the law came, sin sprang to life and I died. … There comes a time in life when children become not only sinful, but also guilty. This can be different ages for different people. This guilt comes when they not only know the facts that they are sinful and Jesus died for them, but also that they feel the conviction that they have done wrong. Some may never reach this level of mental maturity and may never become accountable for the lack of ability to comprehend the issue. … What about those who never hear about God or sin? Romans 1:20 and 2:14-15 tells us that the law is revealed in creation and in conscience. Everyone is exposed to it. 

Deuteronomy 1:39: Your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. … When the Israelites came to the promised land, only two of the adults who spied it out wanted to trust God and enter. They would be the only adults from then that would ever enter the promised land. The young children would also enter for they had no say and did not right from wrong. This gives us hope that children who may die before knowing good from evil will go to Heaven. 

Romans 8:1-2 gives the solution for those who do reach the age of accountable. We can be saved by Christ from the law of sin.

Why the Chrch is Important

Sunday Sermon

Twenty-two years ago our church developed a plan to allow for more growth. Through lots of prayer, doors were opened up to make the plan possible as property next to the church went up for sale. The leaders of this church knew that churches plateau because they don't take risks to grow. The church took out a $2.4M loan from two banks working together. Property was bought. Houses were sold and moved. Three-year giving campaigns were started. Seven of them. Construction was started. Volunteers lent their expertise and skills. Seven phases of building saw a gym, walking track, parking lot, lounge, welcome center, book stores, new kitchen, new classrooms, and a new preschool area added. This all allowed for more people to attend, new classes to start, new ministries to begin, and most importantly the church to reach more people. Now, twenty-two years later, the $2.4M loan has been paid off. 

Why is this important? Why is the church important? Why do we still believe in the church even as its popularity declines? 

Ephesians 3:9-10 tells us that God's plan centers on the church. His plan is carried out through the church. The church is watched by angels and demons as it carries out His plan. 

Ephesians has three images to help define the church:

  1. The Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). With Jesus as the head, the church is His body. Together we make up different parts of His body and perform different tasks. 

  2. The Building of Christ (Ephesians 2:20-22). Jesus is the cornerstone, the most important piece. The apostles and disciples who led the early church are the rest of the foundation. This building is a temple where God dwells. 

  3. The Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27). Christ loves the church so much He died for it. One day He will return for His bride who will be made holy and blameless. The church is full of broken people and is far from perfect on Earth, but when He returns it will be made perfect.

These three images all illustrate the connection of the church. We like for all of our body parts to be connected. We want the floor, walls, and roof of our building to be connected. A bride and groom share the most intimate connection. It is clear that being part of the church is important. The improvements to the building have allowed this church to grow and connect more people with Christ. 

What’s Your Worldview? Where Are You Going?

Sunday Sermon Holidays Easter

Your worldview is determined by how you answer four questions:

  1. Where did I come from? 

  2. Why am I here?

  3. How do I find happiness or meaning? 

  4. Where am I going?

Today let’s focus on the fourth question: What is going to happen to you when you die?  

Different worldviews give different answers to this question:

  1. We cease to exist. 

  2. We’re absorbed into the universe. 

  3. We are reincarnated. 

  4. We go to Heaven or Hell. 

The Christian answer is summed up in 1 Peter 1:3-4:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”    

We have a living hope: an inheritance that is reserved in heaven (1:4). … We can know where we will go when we die. We can make a reservation to go to Heaven, and that reservation will never expire. 

What is the basis for this worldview?

  1. We have a living hope through the resurrection (1:3). … Jesus was crucified and set in a tomb on Friday. There wasn’t time to add traditional spices to his body and wrappings before the sabbath started. So on Sunday two women, Mary and Mary, went to his tomb to add spices. When they arrived the stone was rolled away and His body was gone. Later in the day Peter and the other disciples witnessed not just the empty grave, but also Jesus Himself walking amongst them. Peter writes this with confidence because he was there and witnessed it all. 

  2. We have a living hope because we are born again by God’s mercy (1:3). … Peter knows about this all too well. Despite denying knowing Jesus three times before the Crucifixion, Jesus still appeared to Peter after His resurrection and asked him three times if he loved Jesus. Three times Peter answered yes and Jesus charged him to feed His sheep. Then on Pentecost Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was born again and experienced great mercy.

Also, happy Easter!

Do You Believe in Jesus?

Sunday Sermon Holidays Easter

John 12:1-43

Believing in Jesus is not just something you do one time in your life when you become a Christian. Believing in Jesus is the way we continue to relate to God throughout the Christian life. As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, it is appropriate that we ask this question: Do you still believe? Are you continuing to trust Jesus? Will you reaffirm your faith?

John 12 contains the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He calls us to believe. The key word in the Gospel of John is believe. It is found 88 times in this gospel. 

The Passover is on Friday and the story starts six days before that on Saturday. Jesus and the disciples and Lazarus as well as others probably, were having dinner. Martha was serving and then Mary came in behind the people who were eating and she used an expensive bottle of perfume to wash the feet of Jesus. Judas criticizes her for wasting something so valuable, saying it could have been used to help the poor. But Judas had ulterior motives. He kept the money bags and would take from it. Jesus said what Mary did was good. He would soon be leaving them but the poor would always be among them. 

The religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus and also Lazarus. But the people wanted to make Him king. They had heard how he miraculously raised Lazarus from the dead and started following Him as he made the trek from Bethany to Jerusalem, leading to the triumphant entry among the people waving palm branches. Then as Jesus gave a sermon about how He would be raised up (on a cross), a voice from Heaven thundered down. Despite all the miracles and the voice from Heaven they just heard, many of the people did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. It amazes us how people who lived among Jesus and witnessed His miracles could somehow not believe in Him. However, we are also told that many did believe even among the religious leaders. But they didn't confess it because they feared the Pharisees. 

Do you believe in Jesus? Are you afraid to confess it? Will you reaffirm that belief and toss the fear aside?

Welcome Home

Sunday Sermon

What is your life built on? 

Matthew 7:24-27 shows us two types of people. 

The first hears the Word of God and listens. They are like someone who builds a house on a firm foundation, like a rock. In order for us to obey God's word, we must hear it. We hear it in connection groups, church services, and most importantly in the Bible. We should put ourselves in positions to hear. That Word is a firm foundation. A house on a solid foundation can withstand storms and floods. When we build our live on the Word of God, we can withstand troubles and adversity because our foundation is unchanging. God and His Word don't change or shift. 

The second type hears but doesn't listen. They are like someone who builds a house on sand, a rather poor foundation, especially when a storm comes. A house built on and will not hold up when heavy storms come or flooding happens. That sand will just wash away. Likewise, when you build your life on something other than the Word of God, it gets shaky, things start to fall, and walls crumble when adversity hits. The values of society have shifted and changed over the years, so building a life on those values is unreliable. 

Mathew 7:21 tells us it's not just enough to hear the Word of God, but we also need to obey. 

Matthew 7:28-29 lets us see that the crowds recognized Jesus' authority and were amazed by what He taught. This amazement wasn't necessarily a good amazement, but more likely one of shock and unbelief, not joy. It's easy to be amazed and astonished by Jesus, but it's something else to commit your life to Him.  

Judgment Day

Sunday Sermon

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:31). … There is a day on God's calendar marked as judgment day for the world. There have been and will likely continue to be smaller judgment days for nations and people groups, but the ultimate judgment day is yet to come. It will be a day of justice. 

The purpose of Judgment Day is not to determine who will go to heaven or hell (John 3:17-18). Judgment Day will reveal the hidden things of life (Luke 12:2-3). Judgment Day will confirm the righteousness of God’s judgments (Romans 3:4, 19). … When we die, our eternal destination is sealed and we'll go there right away. We'll have been in Paradise or Hell before judgment day actually comes. The judgments won't determine where we go, but they will show how righteous God is in His judgments.

On Judgment Day, believers will not give an account for sins that have been forgiven (Isaiah 43:25). We will give account of unrepentant sins (1 John 1:9). We will give an account of what with our lives (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). … Some believe God will reveal all our sins and then pardon us for them, but it seems more likely that the sins we have repented of will not be brought up as that seems to fit better with the nature of God's forgiveness. Repentance is more than just confessing a sin, it also includes turning from that sin and not doing it again. Ongoing sins are unrepentant because we keep doing them even if we confessed them. We will also give an account of our lives. Judgment day will bring to light what we did in our lives. Jesus died for us. What have we done for Him? Have we done it well? Will our works be refined or burnt up by the fire that tests it? It seems as though this fire may determine what reward we receive in Heaven. 

What does this mean for our lives?

  1. Judgment Day satisfies our longing for justice (Galatians 6:7). … Everyone desires justice. Unfortunately, justice isn't always achieved in this world. Fortunately, God is a God of justice and on judgment day, justice will be served. That justice will either fall on the person or on Jesus, depending on if the person repented. 

  2. Judgment Day enables us to forgive others (Romans 12:19). … Sometimes forgiveness is hard and we want revenge. God says vengeance is His. He is a much better judge than we are and will deal out justice as necessary. 

  3. Judgment Day enables us to reserve judgment (1 Corinthians 4:5). … This doesn't mean we don't exercise church discipline. In the very next chapter Paul judges a church member for committing adultery. However, we can't know if someone is destined for Heaven or Hell. We don't know the heart, we don't have the full picture, and we have no authority to judge where someone will spend eternity. 

  4. Judgment Day motivates us to serve God (Matthew 25:21). … Every day matters. We should take every opportunity to serve God.