Archives from March 2021

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.