Archives from April 2021


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!