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Gospel Shoes

November 14, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part seven. The third piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 is shoes. Perhaps we do not naturally think of the importance of shoes when doing battle. Just imagine, though, having to march and defensively maneuver with bare feet. We would never get far in the battle. The same is true for our spiritual battle with Satan. Paul looks again to the Old Testament for this piece of armor. In Isaiah 52:7 we read, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” This herald with beautiful feet gives us the backdrop to Paul’s instruction: “And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). ... Keep Reading

The Breastplate of Righteousness

November 7, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part six. We have now turned our attention to the specific pieces of the “whole armor of God.” Last week we looked at the “Belt of Truth.” Today we consider the “Breastplate of Righteousness.” Before we do that, from where do you think Paul got the “idea” for the pieces of the armor of God? Some assume that he was thinking of Roman soldiers and applied the various pieces to the Christian warfare. But Paul had in mind a warrior much older than any Roman soldier. ... Keep Reading

The Belt of Truth

October 31, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part five. Revelation 12:17 says that Satan has gone “off to wage war” on the church. His primary objective is to undermine our faith and confidence in Christ. His primary attack strategy is twofold: Guilt and lies. He is the “accuser of the brothers” and the “father of lies.” Christ has appeared “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). Ironically, Christ has destroyed “the one who has the power of death” through his death on the cross (Heb. 2:14). Satan’s power of guilt, and the consequence for such guilt, namely death, was defeated by Christ on the cross. And Christ fights against the lies of Satan by giving his “Spirit of truth” and the “word of truth.” ... Keep Reading

Be Strong in the Lord: It’s Plural!

October 24, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part four. One of the weaknesses of English is that second person pronouns and verb forms are identical. For example, I can say, “I love you.” Only the context can help identify whether “you” is singular or plural. Verb forms of commands are the same. “Be strong in the Lord.” Is that for me, as an individual? Or is that for the church, as a community? The Greek language is clearer in this matter. There is a difference between the forms of second-person-singular and second-person-plural verbs. This command in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord,” is plural. Paul is addressing the church at Ephesus as a community. The theme and focus of the letter have been on the power of the gospel to make a new community. “For Christ himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two” (Eph. 2:14-15). The latter half of the letter is a call to live out that power of the gospel. “I urge you (plural) to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1). ... Keep Reading

Be Strong in the Lord

October 17, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part three. So far, we have sought to “know thy enemy,” namely, Satan. Revelation 12:17 says that Satan has gone “off to make war on…those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” The battle is inevitable. “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but … against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Paul’s assumption in Ephesians 6 is that we “wrestle.” There is no middle ground of being a pacifist in this spiritual warfare. Either you fight or you are conquered, defeated. And Satan is out to destroy our faith and testimony in Christ. ... Keep Reading

Know Thy Enemy: The Tactics of Satan

October 10, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part two. “Know thy enemy,” wrote military strategist Sun Tzu in the 5th century BC. In our spiritual wrestling with the “spiritual forces of evil” (Eph. 6:12), we would be wise to know our enemy. Last week we looked to Scripture for the origin of Satan. Revelation 12 speaks about a spiritual struggle in heaven between Satan, with his angels, against Michael, with his angels. Satan and his angels are defeated and “thrown down to the earth” (Rev. 12:9). Allegorical interpretations of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 have provided further insight into the origin of Satan, created as a beautiful angel, fallen from God’s grace due to his pride. ... Keep Reading

Know Thy Enemy: The Origin of Satan

October 3, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part one. Before he died of cancer, David Powlison finished his last book, Safe and Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles. He opens the book by writing, “You are in a battle. I am in a battle. And every person we counsel is ... Keep Reading

Fighting the Comfort of Sin

September 26, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

James says Scripture is like a mirror. If we merely “hear” Scripture, but do not “do” it, we are “like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror,” and then does nothing to change our appearance (James 1:23). Judges 15 is a mirror that stings. At first glance we read about Samson’s self-centered back-and-forth revenge-seeking against the Philistines. The foolishness of Samson’s and the Philistines’ actions sting as we consider our own foolish tendencies to seek revenge. The deeper sting, however, is found in the response of the Israelites to Samson’s actions. We read in verse 15, “Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?’” These men were annoyed with Samson. They believed that Samson was disturbing the peace by stirring up the hornets’ nest, namely, the Philistines. It’s hard to disagree with the men of Judah. ... Keep Reading

Good News Worth Sharing

September 19, 2019 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

We are blessed at Oak Hills to have such a vibrant children’s ministry. On any given Sunday we average around 40 children actively involved in our various children’s ministries, from Acorns to Promiseland, pre-k Sunday School to youth Sunday School. That’s awesome! Even just this week our church grew by 2 more members as we welcomed Téa and Tyus Porter into our fold, praise God! The Lord continues to bless and grow Oak Hills, from families moving in, to little ones being born, and that is something worth rejoicing over. Another huge blessing is the large number of volunteers that we have actively serving in our children’s ministries. On top of the 40 children in our ministries we have nearly 30 volunteers serving regularly in various children and youth ministries. This, to me, is an answer to prayer as it shows our commitment as a church to the love and discipleship of our members, from the youngest age to the oldest. When you volunteer in children’s ministry, you aren’t just volunteering to do childcare for an hour and a half on a Sunday morning. ... Keep Reading

Blessed to be a Blessing

September 12, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

When God first called Abram from his pagan lifestyle in Ur of the Chaldeans, he makes several significant promises. We read in Genesis 12:2-3: I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. God selects Abram, a man with no track record of faithfulness to God, married to a barren woman, to be the father of this choice nation of people. God promises to bless Abram, with the intention that Abram would channel that blessing to others. Abram was God’s choice as the conduit to bring the seed of the woman who would crush the work of Satan into the world (Gen. 3:15). Paul confirms this when he quotes Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” ... Keep Reading

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