Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christ's Peaceable Kingdom - Nathan Rages

Christ's Peaceable Kingdom:
1. Prophesied through Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6-7).
2. Announced by angels (Luke 2:8-14).
3. Divided the world (Luke 12:51-53).
4. Accomplished through the Cross (Colossians 1:19-20).
5. Experienced in our souls (John 14:27,16:33).
6. Displayed in His Church (Ephesians 2:14-17).
7. Consummated at His return (1Corinthians 15:23-26).

Sunday, December 19, 2021

What a Friend We Have in Jesus! - Nathan Rages

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:13-15) Outline: 1. Two proofs of Christ's friendship love to us: (1) Laying down His life for us and (2) Telling us all that He's heard from the Father. 2. One test of our friendship with Christ: Obeying His commands. 3. Application to: The lonely believer. The suffering believer. The backslidden believer. The death-fearing believer. The non-believer.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Thinking Biblically About Nature, Science, and Technology - Nathan Rages

Five basic guiding principles: 
1. God’s original creation was very good (Gen. 1:1-31, Is. 45:18).
2. People should exercise dominion over creation (Gen. 1:26-28, 2:15, 9:2-3, Ps. 8:5-8).
3. Creation is now badly damaged because of human sin (Gen. 3:16-19, Rom. 8:19-22).
4. People must overcome nature’s brokenness (Gen. 3:17-19).
5. We look forward to the full redemption of ourselves and creation (Gen. 3:15, Rom. 8:21, Acts 3:21, 2Pet. 3:13).

Sunday, December 5, 2021

How Jesus Looked (at People) - Nathan Rages

1. Looked with compassion at suffering people (Luke 7:12-14).
2. Looked with anger at hard-hearted religionists (Mark 3:1-5).
3. Looked with welcome at new converts (John 1:40-42, Luke 19:2-5).
4. Looked with love at those rejecting Him. (Mark 10:17-23).
5. Looked with discernment at givers’ contributions (Luke 21:1-4).
6. Looked with conviction at a believer’s sin (Luke 22:60-62).
7. Looked with tears at people facing God’s judgement (Luke 19:41-44).

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Church Discipline: The Process to Apply it and Restore the Repentant - N...

Matt 18:15-17 15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." 

The Process of applying discipline
1. Talk one-on-one.  (gently, humbly, Scripturally)
2. Involve one or two others.
3. Tell the church.
4. Remove from fellowship. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the process:
1. Must the process always include these four steps?
2. How quickly should we move to the next step?
3. How do we discern true repentance?
4. How should repentant individuals be restored after discipline?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Freely You Received, Freely Give! - Nathan Rages

Matthew 10:8b "Freely you received, freely give."  In these few special words the Lord Jesus joins two concepts: (1) Gratitude for all that we've received and (2) Motivation for generosity in ministry to others.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Church Discipline: Who Applies it and Receives it?

Question 1: Who administers church discipline?
Answer: All church members are involved, though elders have a major role in some cases.  
Scriptures cited: Matthew 18:15, Luke 17:3, Matthew 5:23-24, Romans 15:14, Colossians 3:16, Matthew 7:55, 3John v9-10

Question 2: Who receives church discipline?
Answer: Fellow church members who display (1) heresy, (2) schism, or (3) misconduct.  This includes church elders.
Scriptures cited: Romans 16:17, 2John v9-11, Titus 3:10-11, 1Corinthians 5:11, 2Thessalonians 3:6, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 19:11, 1Thessalonians 5:14, 1Timothy 5:19-20

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Church Discipline: Why do it? - Nathan Rages

Key Scriptures about church discipline: 
Matthew 18:15-20, 1Corinthians 5:1-13, 2Corinthians 2:3-11, Psalms 141:5, 
Proverbs 27:5-6, Matthew 3:8, Matthew 5:23-24, Matthew 28:20, Romans 2:23-24, Romans 16:17, Galatians 6:1-2, 1Thessalonians 5:14, 2Thessalonians 3:6,14-15, 1Timothy 1:19-20, 1Timothy 5:19-20, 2Timothy 2:16-18, Titus 1:12-13, Titus 3:9-11, Hebrews 12:11 and 2John v10-11

Reasons WHY we do it:
1. Because Christ commands it. 
2. Because His church must be holy.
3. Because sin is infectious.
4. Because discipline deters future sin.
5. Because it benefits the wayward.
6. Because it yields peaceful, loving relationships.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Jesus' Fearful Warnings - Nathan Rages

In this concluding sermon to our series on Jesus' Greatest Sayings, we survey our Lord's strongest *warnings* in six areas:
1. JUDGEMENT: He will judge everyone when He returns. Matt. 25:31-46 plus Matt. 11:23-24,12:36; Luke 12:2.  
2. HELL: He will send every non-Christian to Hell. Matt. 13:40-42 plus Matt. 25:30,41,46; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:4-5,16:23-24. 
3. CONVERSION: All without repentance and faith will perish. Luke 13:1-5 plus John 8:24.
4. DECEPTION: Many people are deceived about their salvation. Matt. 7:21-23 plus Matt. 22:11-14. 
5. UNFORGIVENESS: Unforgiving people won’t be forgiven by God. Matt. 6:12-15 plus Matt 5:7,18:21-35; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:36-37.
6. PHARISAISM: Hypocritical religionists are cursed. Matt. 23.

Personal applications:
1. Examine yourself first.
2. Let the warnings send you to Christ.
3. View others with compassion.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Rewards of Walking by Faith - Nathan Rages

Last week's sermon was about the "riskiness" of living by faith in God; this week's is about the flip side, the great REWARDS of such a life:
1. Keeps us humble. Prov. 3:5
2. Prompts constant prayer. Psalm 55:16-18
3. Prioritizes Bible promises. Heb. 6:12
4. Builds endurance. James 1:2-4
5. Overcomes the world. 1John 5:4-5
6. Encourages fellowship with believers. Rom. 1:11-12
7. Produces inner peace. Isaiah 26:3-4
8. Fills us with joy. Psalm 5:11
9. Brings glory to God. Rom. 4:20-21
10. Draws us nearer to God Himself. Heb. 11:6

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Riskiness of Walking by Faith - Nathan Rages

A survey of thirteen Bible characters whose faith in God resulted in actions that appeared "risky": 
1. Noah - Genesis 6. 
2. Abraham - Genesis 12 and 22; Hebrews 11:8,19.
3. Moses - Exodus 2; Hebrews 11:24-27. 
4. Rahab - Joshua 2,6; Hebrews 11:31.
5. Ruth - Ruth 1.
6. Gideon - Judges 7.
7. Jonathan - 1Samuel 14.
8. David - 1Samuel 17.
9. Daniel - Daniel 6.
10. Daniel’s Friends - Daniel 3, Hebrews 11:35-38.
11. Esther - Esther 4.
12. Peter - Matthew 14.
13. Jesus - Luke 21:2-4; Matthew 13:44-46, 25:14-30; 1Peter 2:23; Hebrews 12:2.

Observations from this study:
1. These are not examples of “blind" faith.  
2. These are not examples of reckless presumption.
3. These believers were actually safest when their actions appeared most risky.
4. We'll have similarly challenging tests ourselves.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Sunday October 10th Worship Meeting Location

Because most Redeeming Grace Church members will be participating in the Fall Fellowship Camp, October 7-10, the worship service on Sunday the 10th will be held at the chapel of the Turkey Hill Ranch Campground near Freeburg, MO at 10:00am, with lunch served afterwards.  Anyone is welcome to join the meeting at the Campground.  Our regular weekly schedule will resume, Lord willing, after the Camp.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Jesus' Wonderful Promises to Believers - Nathan Rages

1. You’ll be helped by the indwelling Holy Spirit. “...He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” (John 14:16)
2. You’ll enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son. “...we will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:21-23)
3. Your prayers will be answered. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) 
4. Your work will be successful.  “...the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do...” (John 14:12) 
5. You’ll have authority over Satanic powers. “...I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy...” (Luke 10:17-19)
6. Your sacrifices will be rewarded. “ to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:41-42)
7. You’ll be with Christ forever in heaven. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Jesus' Costly Expectations for His Followers - Nathan Rages

The Lord Jesus called His followers to "count the cost" of committing their lives to Him, including these five remarkably difficult areas:
1. Dying to yourself.  “hate … even his own life … carry his own cross and come after Me” (Luke 14:26-27)
2. Hating your family.  “does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters” (Luke 14:26)
3. Giving-up your possessions.  “give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33) 
4. Enduring persecution.  “Blessed are you when men hate you and ostracize you and insult you...” (Luke 6:22) 
5. Loving God and people completely.  “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart .… love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:28ff)

Four thoughts of application from this study:
1. The Christian life must be *supernatural*. 
2. Rejoice that salvation is by *grace* alone.
3. There’s no room for *self-pity*.
4. It’s still *worth it* to follow Christ!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Jesus' Six Surprising Salvation Sayings - Nathan Rages

Jesus taught some unexpected, even counter-intuitive, truths about our salvation.  This message explores six of these surprising sayings:
1. Salvation is through Christ exclusively: “no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
2. Salvation is only for bad people: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
3. Salvation is only for child-like people: “unless you are converted and become like children you will not enter” (Matt. 18:2-4).
4. Salvation is only for born again people: “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom” (John 3:3-8).
5. Salvation includes Christ’s forgiveness: “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:5-12).
6. Salvation involves eating Christ: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life” (John 6:51-57).

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Jesus' Amazing Claims About Himself - Nathan Rages

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke often about Himself during His earthly ministry.  This message surveys some of His most spectacular claims: 
1. He existed eternally (John 8:56-59). 
2. He’s the unique revealer of the Father (Matt. 11:27).
3. He’s the long-prophesied Messiah (John 4:25-26).
4. He’s greater than the Temple and Sabbath (Matt. 12:5-8).
5. He’s greater than King Solomon (Matt. 12:42).
6. He’s sinless (John 8:29).
7. He controlled His death and resurrection (John 10:17-18).
8. He’ll resurrect all dead people (John 5:28-29).
9. He’s God (John 10:30-33,14:9).

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Building Your Life on Jesus' (Radical) Words - Nathan Rages

In the parable of the two house builders in Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus taught that the difference between building successfully on the rock vs. disastrously on the sand lay in how one responded to His teaching. To be like the wise man means HEARING and DOING Jesus' words -- building your life on Christ by embracing all His teaching. But Jesus' words (about Himself, His salvation, His requirements for discipleship, and His promises for followers) were extreme, controversial, and polarizing. They still are today. So we're tempted to ignore or water-down His difficult sayings, but we must vigorously resist that tendency. Instead we can imitate Peter, who after hearing Jesus' challenging and unpopular teaching declared, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life!" (John 6:60-69)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

It is Finished - John Dees

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:28-30

Jesus' dying declaration "It is finished!" described the finality of these four extremely important processes in our salvation:
1. Messianic prophecies had been fulfilled.
2. Jesus' sufferings had come to an end.  
3. Jesus' perfect obedience had been rendered. 
4. Jesus' atoning sacrifice had been completed.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Lament: A Biblical Practice for Your Burdened Soul - Nathan Rages

All Christians are troubled with hurts, griefs, fears, and confusing questions.  The "Lament Psalms", such as Psalm 13, provide us a roadmap for communicating with the Lord about these weighty matters and thereby obtaining great help.   

Biblical lament includes these three elements:
1. Complaining honestly.
2. Asking boldly.
3. Trusting anyway.

The Psalms commonly considered "Lament Psalms" are 3,4,5,7,10,12,13,14,17,22,25,26,28,31,39,41,42,43,44,53,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,64,70,71,74,77,79,80,83,85,86,90,94,120,123,126,141, and 142.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Christian, Your Obedience Truly Pleases God - Nathan Rages

A Christian's obedience, even though it is imperfect (and always *will* be imperfect in this life), is nevertheless *accepted* by God and genuinely *pleasing* to Him ... because of Christ.  This is confirmed by these twenty scriptures that describe various aspects of Christian obedience as pleasing to God or acceptable to God: Romans 12:1, Romans 14:17-18, 2Corinthians 5:9, Galatians 1:10, Ephesians 5:10, Philippians 2:12-13, Philippians 4:18, Colossians 1:10, Colossians 3:20, 1Thessalonians 2:4, 1Thessalonians 4:1, 1Timothy 2:3, 1Timothy 5:4, Hebrews 11:5, Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 12:28, Hebrews 13:16, Hebrews 13:20-21, 1Peter 2:5, and 1John 3:21-22.

The sermon then answers some questions that may be raised by this teaching:
1. Doesn’t this somehow conflict with the doctrine of “justification by faith alone”?
2. How can God, whose standard is perfection, be genuinely pleased with my imperfect obedience?
3. Can I achieve God-pleasing obedience in my own strength alone?
4. If God is truly pleased with my current obedience, then what’s my motivation to grow?

Sunday, August 8, 2021

How to Pray for Preachers - Nathan Rages

“and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  Eph. 6:19-20

1. Preachers need your prayers (desperately).
2. Preachers need you to pray for *specific* needs.
3. Preachers need *clarity* in their words.
4. Preachers need *boldness* in their content.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Six Parts of a Powerful Prayer Life - Nathan Rages

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” Eph. 6:18

1. Variety: “with all prayer and petition”
2. Frequency: “at all times”
3. Spirituality: “in the Spirit”
4. Alertness: “be on the alert”
5. Perseverance: “with all perseverance”
6. Inclusiveness: “petition for all the saints”

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Sword of the Spirit - Nathan Rages

“And take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Eph. 6:17

1. The sword represents God’s Word.
2. The sword is given and empowered by the Spirit.
3. Suggestions for effective sword usage:
     LEARN specific Bible verses.
     UNDERSTAND the meaning of those Bible verses.
     APPLY the words of Scripture authoritatively.
     TRUST the Spirit to powerfully use the Word.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Helmet of Salvation - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:17 "and take the helmet of salvation..."

The helmet of salvation is how we Christians think about the fact that we are saved by a wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our salvation includes all three "tenses", and we need to think rightly about each one:

1. Salvation Past.  "I have been saved." Justification.  Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

2. Salvation Present.  "I am now being saved (gradually)." Sanctification.  2Cor. 2:15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

3. Salvation Future.  "I will be saved (perfectly)." Glorification.  Rom. 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Fall Fellowship Camp Registration is now OPEN

Registration for the Fall Fellowship Camp, October 7-10, 2021 is now OPEN.  See this page for all the details and registration form. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

My Hope for America (on July 4th) - Nathan Rages

Though many Christians feel grave concerns about the moral and spiritual direction of our nation this July 4th, this message gives three reasons for hopeful optimism about our future:
1. We can shine brightly for the Lord, no matter how dark things get (Philippians 2:15). 
2. We can pray to an almighty and merciful God (1Timothy 2:1-2, Acts 4:23-31, and 2Chronicles 7:14).
3. We can imagine God pouring out His Spirit in true revival (Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 64:1-3, and Psalm 44:1,23,26).

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Shield of Faith - Nathan Rages

Eph 6:16 "in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." 

1. The Devil’s method of attack: “flaming arrows”.
2. The saints’ means of defense: “shield of faith”.
     Universal effectiveness: “all”
     Personal responsibility: “taking up”
3. Examples of common arrows and faith’s response (from various Scriptures).

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Gospel Shoes - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:15 "and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." 

1. Why are a soldier’s shoes important?
2. What is the Gospel?
3. Where does the Gospel produce peace?
   With God.
   Within yourself.
   With others.
4. How does the Gospel prepare us for action?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Breastplate of Righteousness - Nathan Rages

Ephesians 6:14 "Stand therefore, ... having put on the breastplate of righteousness," 

All believers have two kinds of righteousness that must be understood distinctly and kept in proper balance:
1. Imputed righteousness: Legal, performed by Jesus, received entirely as a gift at conversion, perfect, results in justification.
2. Imparted righteousness: Practical, performed by believers through the Spirit, grows as we become more like Christ, imperfect until heaven, results in sanctification. 

Examples of times when we must apply the "breastplate of righteousness" to ourselves:
1. Times of spiritual dryness / coldness / depression.
2. Enduring painful trials and disappointments.
3. Difficulties in your prayer life.
4. Dealing with your own sins.
5. Doubts about your assurance.
6. Self-righteousness.
7. Tolerating a pattern of known sin.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Belt of Truth - Nathan Rages

Ephesians 6:14 "Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth..."

What’s the belt’s function?
What kind of “truth” does this mean?
 Objective side:  God’s whole authoritative revelation in Scripture.
 Subjective side:  Honesty and sincerity within the believer.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Diligently Preserving the Unity of the Spirit - Jon Beary

Eph. 4:1-6 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Priority of Praying Together (and 15 Reasons Folks Skip the Prayer M...

Twenty Scriptures about corporate prayer in the New Testament Church: Mark 11:17, Luke 11:1, Luke 9:28-29, Matthew 26:36-41, Acts 1:14, Acts 1:24, Acts 2:42, Acts 3:1, Acts 4:24-31, Acts 6:4-6, Acts 8:14-15, Acts 12:5,12, Acts 13:2-3, Acts 14:23, Acts 16:13,16, Acts 16:25, Acts 20:36, Acts 21:5, 1Timothy 2:8, and James 5:14-16.

Fifteen possible reasons folks don't attend the church prayer meeting:
1. Scriptural ignorance.
2. Meeting time / place / format.
3. Bad habits.
4. Too busy.
5. Too lazy.
6. Difficulty with children.
7. Family leadership failure.
8. Undervalue spiritual fellowship.
9. Undervalue the benefit for your own soul.
10. Fear of man (pride).
11. Unmoved by the needs.
12. Unbelief about the power of prayer.
13. Lukewarmness toward God.
14. Satanic opposition.
15. Rejection of church leadership.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Standing Firm in Christ's Strength - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

1. This is a command.
2. Our own strength is never sufficient.
3. Our own effort is, nevertheless, necessary.
4. Christ’s strength is extremely strong.
5. Christ’s strength must be appropriated.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Devil's Top Ten Temptation Targets - Nathan Rages

1Cor. 10:6-12 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; ... 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, ... 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, ... 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, ... 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 

In this, the second part of our studies on the Devil's schemes (per Eph. 6:11​ and 2Cor 2:11​), we consider the specific sin areas in which we're most likely to be attacked.  This Top Ten list is based on a review of the areas in which the "good" characters in the Bible were most often tempted and/or fell into sin. 

1. False teaching.
2. Sexual immorality.
3. Fear of man.
4. Fear of circumstances.
5. Discontentment.
6. Interpersonal conflicts.
7. Rebellion.
8. Lukewarmness.
9. Loving the world.
10. Pride.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Devil's Schemes - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:11​ "... stand firm against the schemes of the devil." 
2Cor. 2:11​ "... for we are not ignorant of his schemes." 

About the Devil's Schemes:
1.  They can be understood.  
2.  They rely on deception.
3.  They often involve surprise.
4.  They may develop gradually.
5.  They may get switched rapidly.
6.  They produce certain results.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Briefing About Our Enemy - Nathan Rages

According to Eph. 6:10-18, our spiritual Enemy...

1. is personal.
2. is spiritual.
3. is powerful.
4. is a slanderer.
5. runs a highly-organized worldwide operation.
6. aggressively attacks us.
7. can be effectively resisted.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

2021 Fall Fellowship Camp

Lord willing, we *are* planning to host another Fall Fellowship Camp, Thursday October 7 - Sunday October 10, 2021.  We anticipate opening registration in mid-to-late summer.

After the strangeness and isolation of the last year, we're looking forward to this Camp with a special enthusiasm!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The War of All Wars - Nathan Rages

Ephesians 6:10-18 is the clearest Bible passage on spiritual warfare, viewing the Christian as a soldier in combat.  This first sermon on the passage takes the broad perspective on the great war that has been raging ever since the fall of Satan.   

Practical applications from the War of All Wars:
1. Be alert to the danger that surrounds you.   
2. Take responsibility for yourself as a soldier.
3. Don’t stay on the sidelines.
4. Don’t be surprised when the Christian life gets difficult. 
5. Don’t be surprised at the casualties you see.
6. Anticipate ultimate rest and victory in heaven.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Encouragements from the Torn Curtain - John Dees

Matt 27:51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom... 

This event conveys glorious truths about the significance of Christ's atoning work and the Gospel of our salvation.  Remembering the torn curtain should encourage the faith of *unsaved* people who are coming to Christ as well as the faith of *believers* in areas like prayer, worship, and assurance.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Church's Role in Social Change - Nathan Rages

Why do the Apostle Paul and the other New Testament writers never command slave owners to release their slaves or call for the abolition of slavery?  What does this tell us about the Church's role in addressing and improving social problems?  What is Christ's priority for the work of His Church *corporately* vs. the "good works" that *individual* believers do?  We explore these questions! 

Eph. 6:9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Challenge to All Workers - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:5-8 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 

1.  Obey your boss consistently and heartily.
2.  Serve Christ *by* serving your boss.
3.  Expect Christ’s rewards.

Likely results:
1.  Assurance of your salvation.
2.  Success in your career.
3.  Opportunities for Christian witness.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Discipline and Instruction of the Lord - Nathan Rages

Eph. 6:4  "Fathers, ... bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." 

This sermon discusses these two crucial and complementary parenting activities: discipline and instruction.  Both activities must be done "of the Lord", meaning that Christ-centeredness is essential.  Children are forming their understanding of the Lord Jesus and the Christian life from what they're observing in their parents' daily walk with Christ.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Don't Exasperate Your Children - Nathan Rages

Col. 3:21​ Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger... 

Ways we might exasperate / provoke our children:
1. Too many rules.
2. Inconsistent discipline.
3. Angry discipline.
4. Pressure to achieve.
5. Too little encouragement
6. Suppressing individuality.
7. Overprotection.
8. Violating their privacy.
9. Favoritism.
10. Emotional coldness.
11. Unkind words.
12. Physical abuse.

What then should we do when we fail?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

God's Message to Children - Nathan Rages

Eph 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 

This message was preached directly to the children in the congregation, using the following outline: 

Things you must DO:
 1.  Obey your parents. v1
 2.  Honor your parents. v2

Reasons WHY you should do them:
 1. Because it is right. v1
 2. Because you will have a long happy life. v3
 3. Because you love Jesus. v1

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Necessity of Christian Labor - Jess Schmid

The Lord, throughout the Scriptures, is calling His people to flee from the lazy tendencies of our culture and devote themselves to diligent effort for His glory and kingdom.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Great "One Flesh" Mystery - Nathan Rages

Ephesians 5:31​-32 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 

This new "one flesh" relationship...
1. Changes other relationships.
2. Involves intimate oneness.
3. Lasts for a lifetime. 

Each of these concepts applies *both* to the Lord Jesus with His church and to Christian marriages.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Husband, Sanctify and Care for Your Wife - Nathan Rages

Husbands are called to imitate Christ's perfect example in (1) sanctifying His bride in anticipation of her glorification and (2) caring for her by "nourishing and cherishing" her as His own body.

Eph. 5:26-30 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Husbands Lead and Love - Nathan Rages

Eph. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 
Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Promise of the Spirit's Outpouring - John Dees

Isaiah 44:3 ​​​​​​​​For I will pour water on the thirsty land, ​​​​​​​and streams on the dry ground; ​​​​​​​I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, ​​​​​​​and my blessing on your descendants. ​​​ 

This wonderful promise was fulfilled at Pentecost and applies throughout the New Covenant era.  It should give particular encouragement to praying believers, needy believers, and unbelievers.

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Word to Wives - Nathan Rages

Eph. 5:22​-24 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 

1. The submission command and its broad scope. 
2. Things the command does *not* mean:
    Women are inferior to men.
    Women must submit to all males.
    A wife must always agree with her husband.
    A wife must endure physical abuse.
    A wife must disobey God. 
3. Encouragements in obeying the command:
    By submitting to your husband, you’re actually submitting to the Lord.
    Your husband’s headship is God’s design from Creation.
    Your husband, if he’s at all Christ-like, will be sacrificially loving you.
4.  Thoughts for unmarried women: affirmation and caution.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Submitting Yourself to One Another - Nathan Rages

Eph. 5:21 "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." 

1. The meaning of the command: “submitting yourself”
2. The scope of the command: “to one another”.
3. The power for obeying it: “filled with the Spirit”.
4. The motivation for obeying it: “in the fear of Christ”.
     (a) Remember Christ’s teaching and example.
     (b) Be afraid of disappointing Him, bringing shame on His name, and facing Him at the final judgement.