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?
   Stability.
   Flexibility.
   Mobility.

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.

Outline:
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. 

Exhortations:
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.