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. 

Finding Purpose in Life: Embrace the Ministry of God

Sunday Sermon Series Finding Purpose in Life

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

You have a ministry! If you are in Christ, you are a new creation (5:17). God has reconciled us to himself and given us the ministry of reconciliation (5:18). This ministry is centered in a message (5:19). … Every Christian has a ministry. Having a ministry isn't just for pastors, it's something we all have as believers. A ministry isn't all about preaching. A ministry is a service and we all have a service to provide. Our primary ministry is one of reconciliation, one where we work to bring other people to Christ to be reconciled. We do this by talking to people and telling them about Jesus. 

Because we have a ministry of reconciliation:

  • We no longer live for ourselves (5:15). … Jesus died for us and now we are to live for Him. ``It would make sense if we were happiest living for ourselves, but the Bible tells us this isn't how it works. Instead, we find purpose and joy by living for Christ. 

  • We view people differently (5:16). … As Christians we shouldn't judge people on external factors. Instead, our first thought should be "do they know Jesus?" and if they don't we look at the next bullet point.

  • We try to persuade people (5:11-14). … The best that could possibly happen to someone is for them to come to know Jesus. The vast majority of believers will agree with that statement. If we truly believe that, then one of our goals should be to persuade others to know Jesus. Unfortunately, we are losing the drive to persuade others because we've been taught that sharing what we believe with someone else is judgmental and wrong. It's better to be called judgmental by human society than it is to let someone live and die without hearing the Gospel. 

  • We are Christ’s ambassadors (5:20). … An ambassador is someone sent from one country to live in another. They live there as representatives of their home country and speak with the authority of their home country. As Christians our home is Heaven. We live on Earth as ambassadors, as representatives, from our home, Heaven. We are to represent our ruler, God, on Earth. Part of that is telling the world about God and what He has done for us, which verse 21 sums up so nicely.

Finding Purpose in Life: Seek the Kingdom of God

Sunday Sermon Series Finding Purpose in Life

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). 

What is the Kingdom of God?

Wherever God rules is his Kingdom. The Kingdom is both present (Luke 11:20; 17:20-21) and future (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 11:15). … If Jesus rules in your heart, then the Kingdom of God is in your heart and you are part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom already exists on Earth within believers. It can't be seen, but it is there. And there is coming a day when the Kingdom will be over all the Earth. 

What does it mean to seek the Kingdom?

To seek means to look for, to chase after, to pursue. It's an action. Often we seek things we are passionate about. The next cool tool we need for the shed, that new game that looks like hours of fun, videos of horses, tutorials on how to build, cook, train, or play, the new Star Wars Pop! figure. We seek these things because we're passionate about them. We even sacrifice other stuff like our time and money. We should be passionate enough about Jesus that we seek, chase, and pursue the Kingdom, sacrificing our time and money to advance it. Do you have a passion like that?

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him, and with him everything else (C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity).

Finding Purpose in Life: Do The Will of God

Sunday Sermon Series Finding Purpose in Life

John 4:31-34

These verses come after Jesus meets the woman at the well. His disciples had left him to go find foos and when they get back and off Him food, He said He was full. He was filled because He was doing God's will. 

There are three parts to God’s will for your life:

  1. God’s universal will for everyone. This is revealed in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:16-18). … There are many things God wants for everyone and we can read about those things in the Bible. He wants us to be saved. He wants us to be sanctified. He wants us to be joyful and thankful. 

  2. God’s individual will for your life (Acts 16:7-10). This is discerned through a relationship with Christ (John 10:27) and the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:9). … Some Christian teachers will disagree with this and say only the revealed universal will is the only one and that we can do whatever we want within that. For the most part that is the case, but the Bible also gives plenty of examples of God having individual plans, individual wills, for different people. Acts 16:7-10 is a good example of this. The hard part is discerning this will. There's no surefire way to always discern it. Sometimes doors just open and it seems obvious what to do. Other times, the door is closed. Jesus tells us that we should keep knocking. Getting advice from Godly people can help. But circumstances and advice from people won't always be enough. A relationship with Jesus and wisdom from the Spirit are the key. Jesus says His sheep will know His voice. 

  3. God’s hidden will. This is not known in advance. We must humbly submit to his will (James 4:13-16). … Not everything in God's will gets revealed. We often don't understand this hidden will as it unfolds. For example, why did 2020 happen as it did? We don't know God's reason for allowing it, but later we will, either in this life or the next.

Finding Purpose in Life: Live for the Glory of God

Series Finding Purpose in Life

Do you have a sense of purpose in life? … People are always trying to find a purpose for their life. Some popular purposes or reasons are family, work, and fun. Those aren't bad things, but in this series we're going to see we were made for so much more. 

You were made for a relationship with God, and you will find purpose by living for Him. You can live for the glory of God. That means to live in a way that honors him or brings praise to him.

  1. You can glorify God by your words (Psalm 63:1-5). … David brought glory to God using words. David was on the run from his son who was trying to take the throne. Yet, David still found purpose in praising and glorifying God. 

  2. You can glorify God by the way you treat your body (1 Corinthians 6:13-20). … Paul told the church in Corinth that they needed to be different from others in Corinth. Corinth was a major port city that was full sin, like Vegas but worse. The church there reasoned that what they did with their bodies because the body is temporary, but Paul gave four reasons why they should be different. 

    1. Our bodies will be raised and united with Christ. 

    2. Sexual sins, unlike other sins, are also against our own body. 

    3. The Holy Spirit lives inside us, making our bodies like temples. 

    4. It's Jesus's body now. He paid for it with His blood. 

  3. You can glorify God even in the most ordinary choices and activities of life (1 Corinthians 10:31). … The church in Corinth asked Paul if it was ok to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. He spent three chapters answering it and sums it by saying that everything we do should be for the glory of God, even the little things like eating or drinking. Whatever we do we should be aware of God's presence and do everything to glorify Him. 

  4. Your good deeds can cause others to glorify God (1 Peter 2:12). … Paul told Peter that the church would be ridiculed by their culture, but that they should keep doing good deeds. Those good deeds could help inspire others to come to know and glorify God.

  5. You can glorify God by the way you endure suffering (1 Peter 4:12-16). … Paul goes on to say that persecution is normal for Christians and that even though it can be difficult, we should still praise God and be glad we bear the name Christian. We often associate our purpose with what we do, but just our existence can bring glory to God.