Sunday, January 29, 2023

How God Preserves His Word - Nathan Rages

The Bible text of 1John 5:7-8 reads very differently in the King James Version compared to most modern translations like the NASB and ESV.  This naturally raises questions about why these particular verses were changed so dramatically over the years.  Before answering these questions, it's necessary to understand the encouraging process by which God preserved His Word over the centuries and the science of Textual Criticism.

Lessons for us:
1. God has preserved His Word, just as He promised (Is. 40:8, Matt. 5:18).
2. God has done so with counterintuitive wisdom (1Cor. 1:25, Rom. 11:33). 
3. Beware of trying to “help God out” with unrighteous means (Rom. 3:8).
4. Beware of placing religious tradition above Scripture (Mark 7:13).
5. Choose your personal Bible translation with care. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Love Casts Out Fear - Nathan Rages

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” 1John 4:17-19

The problem: FEAR
      Specifically, fearing “the day of judgment” (v17) and the
      “punishment” connected to it (v18).

The solution: LOVE
      Specifically, two kinds of love:
       (1)  God loving you thru Christ (v7,9,10,11,12,16,19).
       (2)  You loving people in a Christ-like way

Sunday, January 15, 2023

God is Love - Nathan Rages

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.... No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.... We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."  1John 4:9,10,12,16

1. God IS love (v8,16).
2. God’s love was MANIFESTED in sending Christ (v9-10).
3. God’s love is PERFECTED when Christians love each other (v12).  
4. God’s love must be BELIEVED (v16).  

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Testing the Spirits - Nathan Rages

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1John 4:1)

1. The necessity of testing the spirits (v1,6).
2. The specific tests to apply:
     (a) Theological test (v2-3).
     (b) Audience test (v5-6).
3. The encouragement in the testing process (v4).

Monday, January 2, 2023

Christ Disciplines His Churches - Nathan Rages

At Ephesus:  “…or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).
At Pergamum: “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev 2:16).
At Corinth: “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep… when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord…” (1Cor 11:30-32).
At Thyatira: “Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds” (Rev. 2:22).
At Sardis: “Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you” (Rev. 3:3).
At Laodicea: “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16).

Lessons for us:
1. Churches should fear Christ’s discipline. 
2. Such discipline is not rare.  
3. Disciplined churches may still do many good things. 
4. Disciplined churches may be oblivious to their problems.
5. The solution for all churches under discipline is the same: speedy repentance.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Four Reasons Why Christ Came into the World - Nathan Rages

Reason #1 TO TAKE AWAY SIN. 1John 3:5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

Reason #2 TO DESTROY THE DEVIL'S WORKS. John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

Reason #3 TO LIVE THROUGH HIM. 1John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

Reason #4 TO BE THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. 1John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Holy Spirit Given to Us (and 16 Ways that He Helps Believers) - Nath...

"The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us" (1John 3:24).  "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit" (1John 4:13).

In these two similar verses, the Apostle John teaches that the way we can be sure that we abide in God and His in us, is because He has given us the Holy Spirit.  

We believers can be confident that the Spirit indwells us when we observe Him ministering to us in the many ways (here is a list of 16) that the Bible describes Him helping the saints: 
1. Convicts us of our sins (John 16:8).
2. Gives us spiritual re-birth (John 3:8, Titus 3:5).
3. Casts out demons (Matt 12:28).
4. Reveals and glorifies Christ (John 15:26,16:14).
5. Assures us of our salvation (Rom 8:15-16, Eph 1:13).
6. Teaches us spiritual truth (John 14:26, 1John 2:27, 1Cor 2:10-12).
7. Sanctifies us (1Pet 1:2, Rom 8:13, Gal 5:22). 
8. Distributes and energizes spiritual gifts (1Cor 12).
9. Helps us pray (Rom 8:26-27, Eph 6:18).
10. Helps us worship (Phil 3:3, John 4:23).
11. Guides in our decisions (Rom 8:14, Acts 8:29,13:2,16:6-7).
12. Empowers our evangelism (Acts 1:8, 1Cor 2:4, 1Thess 1:5).
13. Provides the right words to speak (Mark 13:11).
14. Comforts us (Acts 9:31, Rom 5:5).
15. Strengthens our inner person (Eph 3:16).
16. Unites us with other believers (Eph 4:3-4).

APPLICATION: What should we do with this teaching about the Holy Spirit given to us?
1. Thank God for this precious gift.
2. Expand your assurance of salvation.
3. Raise your expectations for your Christian life.
4. Pursue yet more of the Spirit’s help.