Sunday, December 31, 2023

A Visit of Two Miracle Mothers - Nathan Rages

Luke 1:39-45 tells about Mary's visit to the home of Elizabeth.  Both of these women were pregnant as a result of miraculous conceptions, and their two unborn baby boys were the Messiah and His Forerunner.  

This story highlights three frequently despised things that God highly values:
1. Christian fellowship.
2. Unborn babies.
3. People who believe God’s Word. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Wonder of Christ's Conception - Nathan Rages

Luke 1:26-38 describes Mary's surprise encounter with the angel Gabriel in which she is told that she will supernaturally conceive baby Jesus.  

Three things stand out in the story:
1. Mary’s godly character.
    Composure, thoughtfulness, purity, faith, submission, and courage. 
2. Jesus’ humble greatness.
    Humble in: place, family, wealth, conception circumstances.
    “He will be great … Son of the Most High … His kingdom will have no end”
3. Incarnation’s mysterious glory.
    “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

The Virgin Birth is essential for our salvation:
1. To fulfill prophecy. 
2. To avoid Original Sin. 
3. To provide a Mediator.

Monday, December 18, 2023

God's Absolute Sovereignty Over Human Affairs - Clark Lasse

Zacharias' experience in the Temple in Luke 1:5-25 provides valuable illustrations of God's sovereign involvement in human affairs:
1. He works in the macro movements of human history.
2. He works even through those who do not honor Him.
3. He works on behalf of His covenant people.
4. He works to fulfill His prophesied promises.
5. He works in the details of individuals' lives.

Take away applications:
1. Be alert to ways God is getting your attention.
2. Be active in seeking God's wisdom and provision (by prayer).
3. Be ready to embrace God's correction.
4. Celebrate when God fulfills His purposes.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Lift Up Your Eyes to the Lord - Mack Tomlinson

Psalm 123:1-4 1 To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us. 3 Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us, For we are greatly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is greatly filled With the scoffing of those who are at ease, And with the contempt of the proud.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

How We Got the Gospels - Nathan Rages

This message introduces a new preaching series on “The Gospel According to Luke”.  

First we briefly review four facts about Luke himself:
1. He was a ministry partner with Paul (2Tim. 4:11). 
2. He was a Gentile (Col. 4:10-11). 
3. He was a medical doctor (Col. 4:14).
4. He was a skillful writer. 

Then we explore Luke's own introduction to his book in Luke 1:1-4, using this outline: 
1. Luke’s predecessors (v1,3). 
2. Luke’s sources (v1,2, 2Pet. 1:16, 1John 1:1, 1Cor. 15:6). 
3. Luke’s process (v1,3, 2Pet. 1:21).
4. Luke’s audience (v3,4, Acts 1:1).
5. Luke’s purpose (v4, John 19:35,20:30-31, 1Cor. 15:17-19).

Monday, December 4, 2023

Christ Our Example in Suffering (Part 3) - Nathan Rages

In this final installment of a 3-part series, we continue to examine the subject of suffering by looking to the Lord Jesus Christ as great primary example in how to handle our suffering.  We make the following connections between Christ's sufferings and our own:   
9. His friends mostly failed Him.
    (Mark 14:37-41, Matt. 26:56, John 16:32, Ps. 69:20, 2Tim 4:6,10-11,16-17)
10. He forgave those who wronged Him.
    (1Pet. 2:23, Luke 23:34)
11. He kept on ministering to others.
    (John 13-16, Luke 22:51, 23:27-38,43 John 19:26-27)
12. He looked past the suffering to glorious joy.
    (Heb. 12:2, John 12:23-25, Luke 16:25, Rom. 8:18, 2Cor. 4:17-18, 1Pet. 5:10)

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Christ Our Example in Suffering (Part 2) - Nathan Rages

In this 2nd installment of a 3-part series, we continue to examine the subject of suffering by looking to the Lord Jesus Christ as great primary example in how to handle our suffering.  We make the following connections between Christ's sufferings and our own:   
4. He suffered without sinning. 
    (1Pet. 2:22-23, John 15:10,8:29, Heb. 4:15, 1Cor. 10:13, Job 1:11,20-22)
5. He exercised faith in God.
    (1Pet. 2:23, Luke 23:46, 1Pet. 4:19, Jas. 1:2-3)
6. He endured shameful humiliation.
    (Phil. 2:7-8, Matt. 26:67-68, 27:27-29,38-44, Luke 23:35-36, Ps. 22:6-8, 69:19-20, Isa. 50:6,53:3, Heb. 12:2, Acts 5:41, 1Cor. 4:13)
7. His reputation was slandered.
    (Prov. 22:1, Matt. 26:59-65, Luke 23:2, Isa. 53:12)
8. He was motivated by love. 
    (John 13:1, 15:13, Gal. 2:20, 1Jon 4:19, John 21:15-17, Luke 6:27-28)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Christ Our Example in Suffering (Part 1) - Nathan Rages

Suffering is unavoidable in this life (Job 5:7,14:1, John 16:33, Rom. 8:20-22) and comes in many forms.

Christ is our supreme example in suffering (1Pet. 2:18-23, Phil. 3:10, Luke 9:23).  Many aspects of *His* suffering can be applied to *our* hardships;   this message covers the first three:
1. He was not surprised by His suffering (Rev. 13:8, Matt. 20:18-19, John 12:27, Acts 14:22, 1Thess. 3:2-4, 1Pet. 4:12).
2. His prayers to avoid suffering went unanswered (Matt. 26:37-40, Luke 22:44, 2Cor. 12:8-9).
3. He could have removed Himself from suffering [but didn’t] (John 18:6, Matt. 26:53).

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Seeking More of the Spirit's Power in Your Life - Nathan Rages

As a follow-up to last Sunday's teaching about the Holy Spirit's work within believers, this message describes five things that a person *can do* if they desire a greater measure of the Spirit's influence, power, and help in their life.   

1. Become a true Christian (John 7:37-39, Acts 2:38-39).
2. Believe that God is willing to give you this blessing (Acts 1:4-5,2:33,39, 1John 5:14-15).
3. Eliminate whatever grieves the Spirit (Eph. 4:30, Acts 5:32, Psalm 139:23).
4. Persist in specific prayer (Luke 11:5-13).
5. Wait patiently for whatever God will give (Acts 1:4-5).

Sunday, November 5, 2023

"He Will Baptize You With the Holy Spirit" - Nathan Rages

“I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  (Mark 1:8)

This message concerns the Holy Spirit's work within believers, leading to these conclusions:  

1. Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9).
2. Christians may also receive an outpouring / filling / baptism of the Spirit either at or after conversion (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:4-8,2:1-4,8:14-17,9:17-20,19:1-7, Luke 3:22,4:1,14,17-18).
     It is available to all believers (Acts 2:38-39). 
     It may be repeated (Acts 2:4,4:8,4:31).
     It produces recognizable effects (Acts 1:8,2:4,9:20-22).

Monday, October 30, 2023

Surprising Features of NT Church Meetings - Nathan Rages

This message explores six of the more surprising aspects of New Testament church meetings:

1. They were held mainly in members’ houses (Acts 2:46,12:12, 1Cor. 16:19, Col. 4:15, Phlm. 2).
2. They had affectionate greetings (Rom. 16:16, 2Cor. 13:12, 1Thess. 5:26, 1Pet. 5:14).
3. They were unscripted [but still orderly] (1Cor. 14:26-31,33,40).
4. They had participation from many members (1Cor. 14:23-24,26,31, 1Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6).
5. They had women speaking publicly [but not teaching men] (1Cor. 11:4-5, 1Tim. 2:11-12).
6. They were directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12 and 14, John 4:24, Matt. 18:20, Phil. 3:3, 1Cor. 2:3-5).

Sunday, October 22, 2023

What Did NT Believers Do in Their Church Meetings? - Nathan Rages

This message explores the New Testament's teaching regarding church meetings.  What did the early church *do* in their meetings?  

This verse specifies four main activities:
“They were continually devoting themselves
   to the apostles’ teaching and 
   to fellowship, 
   to the breaking of bread and 
   to prayer.”  (Acts 2:42)

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Sunday, October 15th Worship Meeting Location

Because most Redeeming Grace Church members will be participating in the Fall Fellowship Camp, October 12-15, the worship service on Sunday the 15th 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 8, 2023

7 Key Responsibilities in Church Life - Nathan Rages

This message explores 7 of the main responsibilities that each church member has: 
1. Conversion (Acts 2:47,38-41).
2. Baptism (Acts 2:38, Matt. 28:19).
3. Attending meetings (Heb. 10:25, Acts 2:42,46).
4. Submitting to leadership (Heb. 13:17).
5. Preserving unity (Eph. 4:1-3, Ps. 133:1).
6. Pursuing holiness (1Pet. 2:9, 1Cor. 3:17, Eph. 5:25-27).
7. Giving, Serving, Encouraging, Praying (Acts 20:35, Prov. 11:25).

Sunday, October 1, 2023

10 Great Blessings of Church Life - Nathan Rages

This message explores 10 of the greatest benefits Christians receive as  members of a local church body:
1. Biblical teaching (Eph. 4:11-15, 1Tim 5:17).
2. Wise counsel (Prov. 11:14, Rom. 15:14, Titus 2:3-5).
3. Godly examples (Phil. 3:17, 1Pet. 5:3).
4. Encouragement (Heb. 3:12, 10:24-25, 1Sam. 23:16, Acts 4:36).
5. Accountability (Matt. 18:15-17, Jas. 5:19-20).
6. Service (John 13:14-15, Gal. 5:13, 6:10).  
7. Giving (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32). 
8. Prayer (1Thess. 5:23-25, Phil. 1:19, 2Cor. 1:11). 
9. Fellowship (1John 1:7, 3:14, 1Thess. 4:9-10, 1Tim. 5:1-2). 
10. God’s glorious presence (Matt. 18:20, 1Cor. 3:16, Eph. 2:21-22, 3:21).

Monday, September 25, 2023

Anticipating the Last Things - Nathan Rages

In this concluding message in our series from the OT prophet books, we consider the eschatological prophecies in those books.  These are prophecies regarding events that will occur at the end of the age, including Jesus' return, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgement, the glorification of the saints, and the destruction of the wicked. 

We examine a sampling of 8 eschatological prophecies and trace their parallels to New Testament passages:
1. Great banquet, veil removed, death defeated, and tears wiped away.
Isa. 25:6-9.  NT parallels: Rev. 19:9, 1Cor. 13:12, 1Cor. 15:26,53-55,  Rev. 21:4, Matt. 5:11-12. 
2. Resurrection of the dead.  Isa. 26:19 and 1Cor. 15:52.
3. God as light source for a righteous people who possess the land. Isa. 60:20-21 and Rev 21:23,27, Matt. 5:5. 
4. Christ executing His wrath. Isa. 63:1-4 and Rev. 19:11-15.
5. Eternal duration of punishment.  Isa. 66:24 and Mark 9:47-48.
6. New heavens and new earth.  Isa. 65:17 and 2Pet. 3:11-13.
7. Son of Man coming in the clouds to receive an everlasting kingdom. Dan. 7:13-14 and Rev. 1:7, 5:9-10.
8. Great distress, book of life, resurrection of righteous + wicked, and the saints’ permanent glory.  Dan. 12:1-4 and Matt. 24:21, Rev. 20:15, John 5:28-29, Matt. 13:43.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Glories of the New Covenant - Nathan Rages

Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is quoted in its entirety in Hebrews chapter 8, is the most important prophecy about the New Covenant in the Bible.  From these two passages we learn the following about the covenants:    
1. Failure of the Old Covenant.
2. Replacement of the Old Covenant with the New. 
3. Superiority of the New Covenant: 
   a. Law written on hearts.
   b. Personal knowledge of the Lord.
   c. Forgiveness of sin.

Monday, September 11, 2023

7 Spiritual Lessons from the ICU - Nathan Rages

As a result of spending considerable time visiting in a local hospital's intensive care unit (ICU), certain Bible truths became more obviously clear and practical:  
1. The human body is an amazing creation (Ps. 139:13-14).
2. Sickness and death are inescapable (2Cor. 4:16,5:2-4).
3. God is sovereign over our lives (James 4:13-15).
4. Relationships grow through sacrifice (John 15:12-13).
5. God’s Word provides genuine comfort (2Cor. 1:3-4).
6. God powerfully answers prayer (James 5:13-15).  
7. Make the most of our remaining time (Eph. 5:14-16).

Monday, September 4, 2023

Prophecies of the Suffering Messiah - Nathan Rages

In today's study from the prophetic books of the Old Testament, we review a sample of the Messianic prophecies about Christ's suffering for our redemption.  Below is the prophecy, the OT Scripture where it was predicted and the NT Scripture where it was fulfilled:  

1 Many “stumbled” over Him. Isa. 8:14-15, 1Pet. 2:6-8.
2 Rode a donkey into Jerusalem. Zech. 9:9, Matt. 21:4-9.
3 Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Zech. 11:12-13, Matt. 26:14-15;27:5-10.
4 Disciples scattered. Zech. 13:7, Matt. 26:31.
5 Stay silent before His accusers. Isa. 53:7, Matt. 27:12-14.
6 Rejected by His own people. Isa. 53:3, Matt. 27:22-25.
7 Numbered with transgressors. Isa. 53:12, Matt. 27:38.
8 Beaten, scourged, and spit upon. Isa. 50:6-8; 53:5, Matt. 26:67;27:26.
9 Pierced. Zech. 12:10, John 19:34.
10 Prayed for His persecutors. Isa. 53:12, Luke 23:34.
11 Darkened sun. Amos 8:9, Matt. 27:45.
12 Buried in rich man’s tomb. Isa. 53:9, Matt. 27:57-60.
13 Suffered under God’s hand. Isa. 53:4,10,11, Matt. 27:46.
14 Suffered as a substitute for others. Isa. 53:5,6,8,10,11, 1Pet. 3:18.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Wielding the Sword of the Spirit - James Voon

Eph. 6:17 "take up ... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

1. Understanding the armor of God.
2. Identifying our enemies.
3. Learning to wield the sword.  The great value of Bible memorization in the process.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Work of God: Believing in Jesus - Clark Lasse

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Special speaker, Clark Lasse, a missionary to the country of Uganda, preaches about believing in Christ and shares an update on the mission work. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Prophecies of the Coming Messiah - Nathan Rages

In today's study from the prophetic books of the Old Testament, we review a sample of the Messianic prophecies about Christ's coming and His earthly ministry.  Below is the prophecy, the OT Scripture where it was predicted and the NT Scripture where it was fulfilled:  

1 Descended from King David - Jer. 23:5, Luke 3:23-31.
2 Born of a virgin - Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:18-23.
3 Called “Immanuel” (God with us) - Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:18-23.
4 Born in Bethlehem - Micah 5:2, Luke 2:1-6.
5 Pre-existed from eternity - Micah 5:2, Col. 1:17.
6 Called “Mighty God” - Isa. 9:6-7, John 1:14.
7 Reigning as king forever - Isa. 9:6-7, Eph. 1:22.
8 Children would die at His birth - Jer. 31:15, Matt. 2:16-18.
9 He would come out of Egypt - Hos. 11:1, Matt. 2:14-15.
10 Messenger would announce Him - Isa. 40:1-3, Matt. 3:1-3.
11 Timing of His appearance - Dan. 9:24-27, Gal. 4:4.
12 Anointed with the Holy Spirit - Isa. 11:2, Matt. 3:16-17.
13 Ministry focused in Galilee - Isa. 9:1-2, Matt. 4:12-16.
14 Ministry of miracles - Isa. 35:5-6, Matt. 11:3-5.
15 Ministry of quiet gentleness - Isa. 42:1-3, Matt. 12:15-20.
16 Ministry of parables - Isa. 6:9-10, Matt. 13:13-15.
17 Ministry of purification - Mal. 3:1-3, Matt. 21:12-13.
18 Ministry of deliverance - Isa. 61:1-2, Luke 4:20-21.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

The Wonder of Fulfilled Prophecy - Nathan Rages

According to Scriptures like Jer. 30:2-3, Isaiah 41:21-24, 44:7-8, 46:9-11, Daniel 2:27-28, Hab. 2:2-3, and John 13:19,14:29, the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible are meant to showcase the unique glory of the God and encourage the faith of believers.

One striking example of fulfilled Bible prophecy involves the great ancient city of Tyre as recorded in Ezekiel 26:1-14: 
1. King Nebuchadnezzar would lay seize to Tyre (v7-9) and break down her walls, towers and houses (v4,12).
2. Tyre’s stones and timbers would be scraped-up and thrown into the sea (v4,12,19).
3. Tyre would be made into “a bare rock” (v4).
4. Tyre would become “a place for the spreading of nets” (v5,14).
5. Tyre would be attacked by “many nations” (v3).
6. Tyre would not be re-built (v14,v21).

#1 Be confident that God will do everything that He says.
#2 Be patient until the *remaining* prophecies are fulfilled.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Being a Disciple in God's Service - Richard Hamilton

Ananias of Damascus appears in Acts 9:10-19 and 22:12 as the brother who was sent to minister to the Apostle Paul at the time of Paul's conversion. Ananias was a faithful disciple who had:
1. An ear listening for God's call.
2. A will obedient to God's command.
3. A life ready to be used for God's service.

Each of these qualities can be applied to ourselves as believers.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Worthless Religion - Nathan Rages

One of the themes emphasized by the OT prophets was that religious practices were worthless without two things:
1. An obedient life (Jer 6:19-20, 7:9-10, 14:10-12, Isaiah 1:11-16, Micah 6:7-8, 1Sam 15:22).
2. A devout heart (Jer 9:25-26, 12:2-3, Isaiah 29:13, 1Sam 16:7).

Jesus gave similar warnings about religious hypocrisy in Matt. 9:13, 15:7-9, 23:3-28, and Luke 12:1.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

God's Sovereignty Over the Nations - Nathan Rages

The OT prophets repeatedly taught that God is sovereign over the actions of rulers and the affairs of nations.  This message explores five areas in which God exercises this authority and control over them: 
1.  God plans all events everywhere (Isaiah 14:27, 37:26-29, 40:15-17, 46:9-10).
2.  God puts rulers into (and out of) power (Daniel 2:21, 4:17,29-32).
3.  God controls rulers’ decisions (Proverbs 21:1, Isaiah 10:5-15, Ezekiel 21:21-22, 2Samuel 17:14, 1Kings 12:15).
4.  God determines military outcomes (Proverbs 21:31, Judges 7:2, Psalm 44:5-7).
5.  God punishes nations for their sins. (Jeremiah 18:6-10, 46-51, Isaiah 13-27, and Ezekiel 25-32).

By way of application to ourselves as believers, these truths should:
1.  Comfort us.
2.  Prompt our worship.
3.  Make us pray.
4.  Encourage us about (global) evangelism.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Fall Fellowship Camp 2022 Registration is OPEN NOW

Registration for the Fall Fellowship Camp, October 12-15, 2023 is now OPEN.  See this page for all the details and registration form. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Who Do You (Really) Trust? - Nathan Rages

Cursed is the man
   who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, 
   and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 
      For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. 

Blessed is the man 
   who trusts in the LORD 
   and whose trust is the LORD. 
      For he will be like a tree planted by the water,  That extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Sunday, July 2, 2023

God's People: Always a Remnant - Nathan Rages

Throughout the Bible, God's true people are described as a "remnant", few in number and despised by the world.  We review Scriptures in Jer. 23:1-4, 31:7, 50:18-20, Rom. 9:27-32, 11:1-6, and then proceed to make personal applications.  This Biblical teaching about the Remnant is:
1. An alarming truth.
2. A misused truth.
3. A grace-exalting truth.
4. A comforting truth.
5. An action-motivating truth.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Living Happily in Babylon - Nathan Rages

Jer. 29:4-7 4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’

How to live happily in Babylon:
1. Realize God put you there. 
2. Do all the good you can.
3. Strengthen your family.
4. Pray for your enemies.
5. Submit to government authority.
6. Leave judgment to the Lord.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

God Restores His Chastened People - Nathan Rages

Bible passages like Jeremiah 29:10-14, 30:2,10-11,17, 31:2-4,7-14, and 32:41-42 promise future restoration to the people of Judah, even as they enter the Babylonian Captivity.  

We can apply these Scriptures to ourselves in several ways: 
1. They point toward our New Covenant era.
2. They give us precious promises. 
3. They comfort us when experiencing God’s discipline.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

True Repentance - Nathan Rages

Jeremiah and the other Old Testament prophets often called people to repentance.  This message draws six principles about genuine Biblical repentance from those passages:

1. It begins with an awareness of sin (Jer. 3:12-13, 14:20).
2. It must be directed toward God (Jer. 3:22, 4:1).
3. It requires heart-level change (Jer. 3:25, 4:3-4).
4. It results in obedient behavior (Jer. 6:16, 7:3-7, 18:11, 35:15).
5. It happens only by God’s grace (Jer. 31:18-19).
6. It leads to great blessings (Jer. 3:12, 18:7, 35:15, 36:3).

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Grieving Over Others' Lostness - Nathan Rages

Jeremiah and the other prophets gave strong messages condemning people's sin and warning of God's impending judgement, but, along with these messages, they expressed great personal sorrow -- to the extent that Jeremiah is now known as "the weeping prophet".  

1. The example of Jeremiah (Jer. 4:19-20, 8:18-22, 9:1,10, 10:19, 13:17, 14:17, 48:31-32). 
2. The example of Jesus (John 11:33-35, Luke 19:41-44, Matt. 23:37-39).
3. Applications to ourselves:
    Viewing our country.
    Viewing the individuals we minister to.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Learning From God's Judgments - Nathan Rages

The OT prophet books contain lengthy passages describing the punishments that God would bring upon people for their sins.  Some examples are Jer. 13:12-19, 15:1-9, and 16:1-13.  

So what are the main lessons we can learn from these kinds of Scriptures?
1. God must always punish sin. 
2. God’s patience will eventually run out.
3. God always fulfills His threats. 
4. Most people are unmoved by God’s warnings.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

SIN: Its Ugly Reality and God's Gracious Solution - Nathan Rages

This is a sermon about the subject of SIN, drawn from the book of Jeremiah:
1. Descriptions of sin (Jer. 2:11,34, 5:8,28, 7:6-10, 9:2-5, 17:11,19-27, 22:13).
2. Universality of sin (Jer. 6:13, Is. 53:6, Rom. 3:23).
3. Irrationality of sin (Jer. 7:31, 44:18).
4. Power of sin (Jer. 5:23, 9:13-14,25-26, 11:7-8, 13:23, 16:12, 17:1,9-10, Matt. 15:19-20).
5. Grace for sinners (Matt. 1:21):
     Changed heart (Jer 31:33).
     Complete forgiveness (Jer. 31:34).

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Living Waters or Broken Cisterns? - Nathan Rages

“Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. .... For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." Jer. 2:11,13

Applications to ourselves:
1. Don’t give up your glory. 
2. Treasure the “fountain of living waters”.
3. Reject all substitute cisterns.  

Sunday, May 7, 2023

7 Facts About False Prophets - Nathan Rages

One of the greatest difficulties for God's true prophets like Jeremiah was contending with the many *false* prophets in the land.  This situation is described in Jer. 23:9-32, from which we can easily make application to our own situation in America.    

False prophets:
1. Cause confusion about God’s Word (v9,21,28).
2. Like to give positive messages (v14,17,19-20,22, Jer. 6:14).
3. Enjoy greater popularity (Jer. 5:30-31, Isa. 30:10, 2Tim. 4:1-4).
4. Are both deceived and deceiving (v26, Jer. 14:14, 1Kgs. 22:22, Matt. 15:14, 2Tim 3:13).
5. Live sinful lives (v11,14, Jer. 6:13, Isa. 28:7, Zeph. 3:4, 1Pet. 2:1-3).
6. Destroy their followers (v1-2,16,27,32).
7. Will be punished by God (v12,15,30, Jer. 28:16-17, Jer. 29, James 3:1).

Hopefully this study will cause us to:
1. Prize the truth.
2. Learn our Bibles well.
3. Delight in the Lord Jesus as the perfect prophet and ultimate revealer of God. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

Suffering in the Lord's Service - Nathan Rages

As we continue our series focusing on the OT prophets, we consider the six ways that they suffered as they served the Lord:
1. Rejected message (Jer. 7:27, 25:3, 36:1-23).
2. Verbal insults (Jer. 15:10, 20:7-8, 43:2).
3. Secret conspiracies (Jer. 11:19-21, 18:18, 20:10).
4. Family disruption (Jer. 16:1).
5. Emotional distress (Jer. 6:11, 8:18-21, 20:14-18).
6. Physical abuse (Jer. 20:1-2, 32:2-3, 37:14-16, 38:4-6).

These same categories of suffering can then be applied: 
1. To Christ.
2. To preachers.
3. To all believers.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Where Do Preachers Come From? - Nathan Rages

This message examines how God calls Jeremiah into his prophetic ministry as a young man, from Jer. 1:1-19:

1. God’s sovereign initiative (v5,9,10).
2. Man’s reluctant excuses (v6,10,16,18,19). 
3. God’s comforting promises.
     God’s messages will be provided (v7,9).
     God’s word will be fulfilled (v10-12).
     God’s protection will be sufficient (v8,18-19).

Monday, April 17, 2023

Profiting from the Prophets - Nathan Rages

This message introduces a new preaching series on the prophetic books of the Old Testament, by reviewing these Scriptures: Deuteronomy 18:14-22, 2Peter 1:20-21, 1Peter 1:10-12, Hebrews 1:1, Hosea 12:10, and Jeremiah 7:25. 

Canonical Prophets Organized Chronologically (covering ~400 years)
   Before Israel’s exile: Jonah, Amos, Hosea
   Before Judah’s exile: Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Joel, Jeremiah
   During Babylonian captivity: Obadiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
   Following Babylonian captivity: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Monday, April 10, 2023

His Heart Beats! - James Voon

1Cor 15:3-4,20-23 "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, .... But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,"

1. The Crucifixion. 
2. The Resurrection.
3. What it means to us.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Violently Striving to gain Salvation - Nathan Rages

Matt 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Matt 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force."
Luke 13:23-24 "And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." 
Luke 16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it."

1. Is it always easy to become a Christian?
2. If someone wants to become a Christian, should they wait passively for God to do something?  
3. If your parents are praying Christians, does that insure that you will eventually be saved?
4. If someone wants to become a Christian, what actions should they take?
5. If someone does what Jesus says, will it be worth it?

Sunday, March 26, 2023

What is True Revival? - Nathan Rages

Revival in the Scriptures:
1. Prayers: Psalm 80:18-19, 85:4-7, Habakkuk 3:2, Ezra 9:8-9, Isaiah 32:14-15, 64:1-8.
2. Examples:
   Under King Hezekiah (2Chron 29).
   Under King Josiah (2Chron 34).
   Nineveh’s repentance (Jonah 3:4-9).
   John the Baptist’s ministry (Mark 1:4-5).
   Pentecost (Acts 2).
   Ephesus, under Paul’s preaching (Acts 19:18-20).

Revival in History (a few examples):
   Great Awakening (1730s) in Britain and US Colonies.  
   Second Awakening (1790s-1840s) in US. 
   Third Awakening / Prayer (1850s-60s) in US and Britain. 
   Wales (1904). 
   Hebrides Islands, Scotland (~1950).
   Canada (~1970). 

“Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God” (per Jonathan Edwards)
1. Raises esteem for Jesus Christ.
2. Destroys Satan’s kingdom.
3. Increases confidence in the Scriptures.
4. Leads to greater understanding of truth.
5. Causes more love for God and people.

“Things Revival Will Bring” (per Iain Murray)
1. Revival restores faith in the Word of God.
2. Revival restores definiteness to the meaning of the word “Christian”. 
3. Revival advances the Gospel with amazing swiftness.
4. Revival always has a moral impact upon communities.
5. Revival changes understanding of the Christian ministry.
6. Revival will change the public worship of churches. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

God Will Go Before You - Nathan Rages

The language / imagery of God "going before" His people is found in: Exodus 13:21-22, 23:23, 32:34, Deut. 1:30-33, 9:3, 31:3-8, and John 10:2-4.  This truth implies five aspects of God:

1. God’s knowledge: He knows everything about our future.  
2. God’s plans: He has good plans for all His people.
3. God’s providence: He is arranging all future details.
4. God’s guidance: He shows us where to go.
5. God’s protection:  He is defeating our enemies.

Points of application:
1. Rest peacefully in God. 
2. Be fully obedient today.
3. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Who Must Keep Your Soul Safe: Christ, You, or Both? - Nathan Rages

In the concluding verses of his letter (1John 5:18-21), the Apostle John shows who is responsible for the safety of our souls:

1. Christ keeps us safe from the Evil One.  
v18 "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him." (See also Lk 22:31-32, Jn 6:39,10:27-29,17:11,12,15, Phil 1:6, 1Thess 5:23-24, 2Tim 1:12, 4:18)

2. We must keep ourselves from idolatry.  
v21 "Little children, guard yourselves from idols." (See also Mk 12:30, Prov 4:23, 1Tim 5:22, Jas 1:27, Jude 21, 1Joh 2:5,3:33, 2Tim 4:7)

Sunday, March 5, 2023

How to Pray Confidently - Nathan Rages

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death."  1John 5:14-17

1. Pray confidently.  
2. Pray according to God’s will.
     (a) Plead Bible promises.
     (b) Imitate Bible prayers.
     (c) Look for Providence.
     (d) Cultivate godly desires.
     (e) Follow the Spirit’s guidance.
3. Pray appropriately for sinning brethren.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Your Invitation to Christ's Feast - Richard Hamilton

This sermon explores Jesus' parable of the feast in Luke 14:16-24, considering these five points:  
1.  The invitation.
2.  The excuses.
3.  The inclusion.
4.  The exclusion.
5.  The conclusion.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

True Life in the Son - Nathan Rages

"And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."  1John 5:11-13

Four questions about True Life:
1. Where is it found?  Exclusively in God’s Son.
2. How long does it last?  For eternity.  
3. How do you obtain it?  Receive God’s gift by faith.
4. Can you be certain you possess it?  Absolutely! 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Believing God's Testimony from the Water, Blood and Spirit - Nathan Rages

"This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." 1John 5:6-8

Sunday, February 5, 2023

How to Overcome the World - Nathan Rages

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"  1John 5:4-5

1. The necessity of overcoming the world.
2. The prerequisite for overcoming the world: 
     having been born of God.
3. The weapon for overcoming the world: 
     exercising Christ-centered faith.
4. The promises given to overcomers.   

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.