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Use the Law Lawfully

January 14, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This Sunday is the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day, a national holiday. Both days highlight the battle for values. Will our nation value all human life, including the lives of the unborn? Will our nation value equality among all humans, regardless of skin color? What we value drives how we live. As Christians, such values are clearly spelled out in Scripture. We look to God, the source of life and standard of holiness, to lay out the values by which we ought to live. One such place to find direction from God for our values is the Ten Commandments. In these prohibitions, we have a window into the heart of God, what he esteems as valuable and worthwhile. This Sunday, I will preach on the Ten Commandments, explaining how they ought to shape our values as we think about current, cultural debates. In preparation for Sunday, I want to draw attention to the three uses of God’s moral law. John Calvin was the first to write about these three uses in his Institutes of the 16th century. Our doctrinal standard, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, adapts what Calvin wrote and rearranges the order. The three uses help us understand how to listen to and apply God’s law. Let me highlight these uses, following Calvin’s order. ... Keep Reading

Peace!

January 7, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Once again, we have been reminded this week we live in a sinful and broken world. The storming of and rioting at the Capitol Building yesterday grieves and confounds and discourages us. As followers of Christ, whose citizenship is in heaven, we are guided by a different set of values. Our King has laid out those values in what have come to be known as the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12). As I reflect on this list again, the seventh value stands out to me: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (v. 9). Notice that our identity in relationship with God is not contingent on our ethnicity, political persuasion, education level, socio-economic status, or gender. Jesus directly links our identity as “sons of God” to our moral ability to be “peacemakers.” This Beatitude encourages us to ponder the wealth of biblical teaching on peace. Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about peace. ... Keep Reading

3 Reasons to Read Revelation Every Year

December 31, 2020 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

This is my 4th Christmas at Oak Hills (1st in Quarantine thanks to COVID-19!) and I believe that every year I have had the privilege of preaching the Sunday either immediately following Christmas (or the Sunday after that). There’s always something weird as the assistant pastor of picking back up a text that we haven’t visited in weeks (or months) for another sermon in that series, like we’ve been doing with the book of Acts over the last two years as I’ve had the opportunity to preach. Sometimes, especially in between two other sermon series such as Advent and our annual series on the Means of Grace, it’s nice to step away from Acts and focus in on something a little different. Perhaps, something a little more New Year savvy. That is why, the last two times I’ve had the opportunity to preach this time of year, I’ve chosen to preach from the book of Revelation. Believe it or not, I can think of no other book of the Bible more fitting for ringing in the new year than the book of Revelation. This coming Sunday we’ll be hearing from Revelation 12 and last year we heard from Revelation 21 (apparently I really like combinations of #’s 1 & 2 in the book of Revelation). ... Keep Reading

Need Some Good News?

December 24, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Thank you for your prayers and faithfulness in giving to God’s ministry through Oak Hills in 2020. You still have time to give for this year! Offerings received at church, or postmarked, or scheduled (online or through theTithe.ly App) by December 31 will be included on your end-of-year offering summary for 2020. Go to our website to learn more. Contact Gerie Owens with questions. ... Keep Reading

Transformed by Christmas

December 17, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Delighting in the Christmas story is the good fight of faith. Do you believe that? Let me explain what we aim for when we celebrate the Christmas story using an unconventional “Christmas” verse. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” First, “beholding the glory of the Lord” is delighting in the Christmas story. In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul is explaining the superiority of the new covenant in Christ over the old covenant administered at Sinai by Moses. The old covenant “came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face” (v. 7). The old covenant at Sinai revealed the glory of God. When Paul speaks about the “glory of God (or the Lord)” he is speaking about the goodness and majesty and excellence of God. In the old covenant, God’s holiness and mercy were revealed to the people of Israel. ... Keep Reading

Is that Prophecy Really About Jesus?

December 10, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

During the season of Advent we hear many Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled in the birth of Christ. Some, like Micah 5:2 (“O Bethlehem…from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel”), are explicit in their connection with Jesus. Others are not so explicit. If you ever looked up these prophecies in their OT context you might even scratch your head and wonder how that particular prophecy speaks to Jesus. Let me highlight one such prophecy. Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 when he explains the significance of Mary’s pregnancy. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.’” (1:22). Clearly, a virgin birth can only refer to the birth of Jesus! ... Keep Reading

Mary’s Magnificent Magnificat

December 3, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Every time I read Mary’s Magnificat, her song of praise found in Luke 1:46-55, I marvel. This is a beautiful song of praise for God’s mercy and might. With no direct quotations, at least 35 different Old Testament passages are alluded to in Mary’s song. She’s weaves together prominent OT themes, such as God’s covenant faithfulness, his enduring steadfast love, the exaltation of the humble, judgment on the proud, and God’s service to his people as the Divine Warrior. Mary’s song is so magnificent on so many levels that some biblical scholars question whether Mary even composed or sang such a song. Thankfully, other scholars have demonstrated convincingly that Mary is the original speaker of these words.[1] Why would anyone doubt that Mary spoke these words? What makes this song so amazing? ... Keep Reading

Give Thanks In All Circumstances

November 26, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Do you want to know God’s will for you in this craziest of crazy years? Paul simply states God’s will for you in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Wait… “in all circumstances”?!? Paul certainly did not have 2020 in mind when he wrote this, right? Of course, Paul was not thinking about 2020, or any other crazy year in the past 2,000 years. But God had all these years, and circumstances, in mind when he directed Paul to write this command. God’s will for us this year is to give thanks in all circumstances, no matter how hard, challenging, or disappointing those circumstances are. One of the reasons God desires for us to give thanks in all circumstances is that the lack of gratitude is dangerous. In describing the downward spiral of depravity and rejecting God in Romans 1, Paul says it starts with not honoring God as God nor giving thanks to him (Rom. 1:21). The lack of gratitude leads to the rejection of God. So, for what can we give thanks in “all circumstances”? What is good enough, sufficient, to captivate our attention in the midst of the most difficult circumstances so that we have reason to give thanks? Let’s let Scripture answer that question.... Keep Reading

Too Good to Be True?

November 19, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

John’s gospel is chock-full of glorious promises. Ponder some of these: “the right to become children of God” 1:12 “should not perish but have eternal life” 3:16 “will never be thirsty again” 4:14 “has passed from death to life” 5:24 “shall not hunger…shall never thirst” 6:35 “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” 7:38 “will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” 8:12 We could keep going, but this suffices to illustrate how wonderful the promise of the Gospel is. Whoever believes in Jesus, receives him, follows him, will “have life and have it abundantly” (10:10). Perhaps you feel, at times, a dissonance when you hear such glorious promises. You believe in Jesus and you long for the promises, but you see in your own life and in the world emptiness and disappointment. Why is this? Are the promises of Jesus empty? Are they too good to be true? ... Keep Reading

Condemnation Versus Correction

November 13, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

When the scribes and Pharisees caught an adulterous woman, they wanted Jesus to condemn her to death. Jesus says to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Without undermining God’s holiness nor the intention of the law, Jesus confronts the sinful attitude of condemnation. At this point, some may say, “Wait! What about confronting someone in their sin? We can’t just let sin run rampant, can we?” This person would be correct. As much as condemnation has no place among Christians, so also condonation has no place among Christians. We do not condemn; but we also do not condone. So, what’s the path forward? ... Keep Reading

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