Question:

I have a question and it is very important to me. I'm eleven years old and I have accepted Jesus into my heart, so I am a Christian. But, here's the problem. I really don't like my church. We visited one, and we went there for about six weeks, but then we went back to my regular church. The other church was bringing me closer to God, but I feel like the one we go to now is drifting my relationship away from Him a bit. I have told my family I don't like our church, but we still go there. I have not been bapitized because I don't feel like that is the church my heart is calling me to. I want to, and I have a fear that if I die before I get bapitized I will go to hell. My situation is terrible. Please help me! Thank you, and may God bless.

Answer:

I am glad that you wrote and I hope you will consider the things that I mention carefully. I have some concerns because you are approaching matters of religion backwards. Read through your note again and notice how every decision you have made is based on your personal wants. Where is there any consideration as to what God wants? "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

God made religion for men, but it is God who sets down the rules for how He wants to be worshiped. He has never told men to do as they like and that He would accept whatever they give Him. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Therefore, in determining which church is best to attend, personal feelings truly has nothing to do with the decision. The question is which church is most accurately teaching its people to be obedient to God.

Even in your opening statement you said, "I have accepted Jesus into my heart, so I am a Christian." I have a small challenge for you: Where in the Bible does God say this will make you a Christian? There are verses that say that belief in Jesus and confession of Jesus will lead to being saved; that is, if you truly believe you will be saved because a true belief will lead you to follow all that God requires of you. The reason I'm pointing this out is that toward the end of your note you mention that you haven't been baptized and that you fear that without baptism you will not reach heaven. I think deep inside you understand there is much more to becoming and being a Christian than a declaration of faith. Baptism is important. Peter stated, "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). This is the same Peter who in answer to the Jews' question "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" when he accused them of killing the Messiah, told them "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).

So which church is better to attend? Since I don't know either one, I can't tell you. But I can tell you how to decide: Open up your Bible and compare each church's teachings to what you find God has taught. This won't be something you can do in a short while. It will take a bit of effort on your part and you might be surprised by what you learn. For all I know you might conclude that both churches are not faithful to God's Word. But what is important that you figure out what a faithful church does look and acts like.

It also means that you need to become a servant of God. Servants don't demand that everything goes their way. Servants learn what their Master desires and seek to please their Master. Even then, Jesus taught us to say, "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'" (Luke 17:10). Thus when I learn that my Lord and God said, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). I happily went into the water. It really doesn't matter who does the baptizing, but it does matter that you do it in the manner that God directed and that you do it for the right reason -- because God said it would remove your sins and make you a part of His church (Galatians 3:26-29). It won't make you a part of some denomination or join you to a particular congregation. It adds you to the universal church belonging to Christ. "And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. ... And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:40-41, 47). Then as a child of God, find a group that you can work with who will help you serve God as God would have you to be.