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.