What is a Christian Church?

A Summary of the Sermon: What is a Christian Church?

1. A church that belongs to Christ.

2. A Great Commission people.

3. A group of people baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

4. A group of people who as the Body of Christ are under the Headship of Christ and are members of one another.

5. A group who honors the Lord’s Day every week with a gathering to worship the Triune God. Lord’s Supper, biblical teaching, prayer, singing, and fellowship.

6. A group of people who honor the Scriptures as God’s Word and seek to live out New Testament Christianity.

7. A holy temple with Christ as the Chief Cornerstone, the apostles as the foundation, and the people as living stones built together.

8. A church rooted in history and tradition passed down from the apostles through every generation.

9. The pillar and ground of the truth.

Conclusion. The Christian Church is the universal people of God who are united with Jesus Christ. A Christian Church, to speak of specific, historical traditions and the heritage of this congregation, is one marked by an intention to be as biblical as possible. We seek to unite around Christ himself and around the Scriptures rather than anything else. Historically, our tradition was a back to the Bible movement born in the late 1700s in America. In that effort, we have tried to preach the Gospel the way it was delivered in the New Testament; we have renewed a high view of baptism and the work of God in it; we have emphasized the importance of weekly communion around the Lord’s Table; we restored the plurality of elders in every local church; and we have sought to root assurance of salvation not in emotional or sensational experiences but in the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can be assured that you are saved and belong to the Lord if you have heard the Gospel, believed it, repented of your sins, and been baptized all according to the Scriptures. Assurance of salvation rests in Christ alone and not in ourselves or our experiences.

Now, the final encouragement to you today is three-fold: (1) Gain a richer and deeper appreciation for the Church of God; (2) Join the Church as a member united with Christ and in connection to the other members of the Body; and (3) Become a great supporter, defender, and lover of the Church.

For an explanation of each item, listen to the full sermon here:

Thoughts on Judas Iscariot

A friend recently texted me a podcast where somebody was giving a so-called “thought experiment” about whether Judas betraying Jesus was actually positive and whether Judas repented. The guys were fairly sloppy in how they talked about it. My friend asked my thoughts. Thought you might be interested in what I wrote to him:

You are right, Judas Iscariot is an interesting biblical character. Comparing and contrasting Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial has always fascinated me. There is a lot of detail in the biblical narratives to study.

What these guys are discussing is an old gnostic theory, even though they don’t seem to know that. This was pushed more recently in The Da Vinci Code and other fictional writings. These are all fabrications that are out of step with the biblical canon.

The Gospels use fairly harsh language for Judas. Judas is never viewed sympathetically or as a victim or in a positive light in the slightest. The Lord Jesus says that Judas was a devil. The Gospels say he was a thief during Jesus’ ministry (a man of selfish and immoral character) and that he was possessed by Satan to betray Jesus.  It seems that Judas was possessed by Satan because he opened the door to that evil. So, the New Testament is clear the Judas did not do what he did for righteous ends. A Christian reading of the New Testament does not allow for Judas is a hero or good guy.

Judas definitely regretted what he did, but regret is not the same as repentance. The narrative seems to portray his suicide as motivated by overwhelming grief rather than godly sorrow. True repentance is both a turning away from sin and turning to Christ in faith.

Acts 1 makes it clear that Judas had done evil and was never restored.

What is a Christian?

A Summary of the Sermon: What is a Christian?

1. Someone who has repented of his/her sins.

2. Someone who believes in Jesus Christ.

3. Someone who is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

4. Someone who has been born again from above.

5. Someone with a single-minded devotion to Christ.

6. Someone who picks up his/her cross to follow Christ.

7. Someone who obeys all that Jesus has commanded.

For an explanation of each of these items, listen to the full sermon here: