What do you think of when you hear the word "Baptist"? Maybe southern accents or a white steeple or casseroles. Or perhaps it's much more negative--that one "church" that makes news for derisively protesting everything from military funerals to LGBT events. But as you can imagine, what it means to be Baptist has nothing to do with any of that. In our last sermon of the "What We Believe" series, we're going to see why Ruggles is a Baptist Church and what that means practically for us.
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Do you ever doubt your own salvation? Where do you find the confidence to say that you're truly a Christian? This week we'll explore one of the foundational, and revolutionary, beliefs of Protestant Evangelicals: Christians can have assurance of our salvation.
Being evangelical doesn't mean we vote Republican, or deny evolution, or believe that America is a special Christian nation. It means none of these things, contrary to popular culture. Instead, one of the foundational tenets of evangelicalism is an emphasis on the Bible as God's word and guide for our churches and lives. This Sunday we're going to explore why we believe in the authority and power of God's word and why it is crucial to our church and lives as Christians.
"What must I do to be saved?" This is a question found on the lips of the Philippian prison guard in Acts 16:30, but it has been on people's lips from the beginning--and even still today. This Sunday we're going to explore what Christianity believes about salvation and this doctrine's practical implications in our lives and our church.
Democrats and Republicans. Socialists and Capitalists. Americans and Armenians. Barack Obama and Donald Trump. How do we wrap our heads around Christianity when all of these people (or at least some from these groups) claim to be Christians? As we begin to explore Ruggles' old and proposed new statement of faith, we're going to explore what it means--at the foundation--to be a Christian.
We begin 2019 with a sermon series about the foundations of our faith, as we hope to adopt an updated Statement of Faith as a church. What we believe is essential to who we are as Christians--we're not called "believers" for nothing! And ultimately, as we look forward to a new year, what we believe will impact how we live in 2019 and beyond.
One of the things our Creator has instilled in each of us is a longing for justice-- the desire to be treated fairly, and to know that systems are in place to protect us. But if we look around, we see that there is injustice everywhere. People are abusing their positions of power and authority, cheating and stealing from each other, and getting away with it.
Where is God in all of this?
This Sunday we'll look not only at Isaiah 9, but all over the Bible to see what God has to say about justice, and what he has promised to us with the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ.
With the news this week about potential troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, it was another reminder of the perpetual state of conflict and war around the globe. Praying for "peace on earth" has become cliche. As we reach the climactic conclusion of this prophecy from Isaiah, we'll be reminded of the ultimate hope and source of peace in our world, and in our hearts.
During the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the cheers always begin at the climactic ending: “O’er the land of the freeee...” Freedom is at the very heart of Americans and many immigrants that come to the United States for study and work. But in the midst of all this “freedom,” do you really feel free? Are we truly free? We’ll explore in Sunday’s scripture text how Jesus comes to bring true freedom to our lives.
Our Heavenly Father has put in each of us a deep desire for joy. We crave more than just sleep, eat, work, repeat. In the deepest part of our souls, we want to know:
Can my life have real and lasting meaning?
Can I be loved unconditionally?
Can I know the Almighty God who created me?
Isaiah 9 answers all of those questions with an emphatic "Yes!" and declares that when the Messiah (Jesus) comes, He will fulfill our longing for joy.
Advent is a season when the church remembers Christ’s first coming as we long for His second coming. One way to recognize that the Christmas season is upon us is the lights—lights on homes, in windows, on Christmas trees, and more. This has become part of our culture each year, but there is deeper meaning to all of these lights. Christmas is truly all about a dark world that is longing for Light.
This week we come to the final chapter of Jonah: the climax of the story. Jonah finally gets honest--and angry--with God. It is in this short exchange that we see clearly the true character of the God of the Bible, and of ourselves.
Our mission is to invite people into a life-changing relationship with Christ and his church. Finding salvation in Christ isn't only about intellectual belief, but about tangible action--what God's word calls repentance--or turning to him. This Sunday, we'll see an incredible picture of surprising repentance, and from not only the wicked Ninevites, but from the wayward prophet Jonah and even from...God himself.
Are you ready? Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). Either as a consequence of our own sin or simply the fallen world around us, we will all experience times "in the depths." So what will you do when these times of "distress" come? From "the pit"--for the first time in this book--Jonah prays. This Sunday we'll learn from Jonah about why prayer, even an imperfect one, is so powerful especially in times of trouble.
How did you become a Christian? Some of us were raised in the church for many years, while others came to Jesus at a later age with little previous understanding of Christianity. Our passage this week makes clear that both religious and irreligious people need God's grace. The Lord in his mercy will not leave Jonah to run from him, even as the religious prophet persists in his proud, hypocritical rebellion. And yet we're also surprised by the irony of God's grace at work in the pagan sailors whom Jonah encounters. This Sunday we'll see in depth the consequences of sin but also how neither hypocrites nor pagans are outside of the reach of God's amazing grace.
Jonah is not about the fish. There is a fish in the story, of course, but this little book is really about God--and us. This is one of the most riveting, shocking, and penetrating narratives in all of Scripture. It shows us the depth of our brokenness, and the even greater depths of God's grace. We dive in head first this Sunday, as Jonah's flight away from God raises the question for us: What happens when God's command contradicts our own deepest desires?
The disciples have asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In the center of Luke 11:1-13 is the Parable of the Midnight Request. The moral of the story? If a grouchy father will stubbornly get up at midnight and give his neighbor who without shame requests bread for his guest, then imagine what our heavenly Father will do for his children who come to him in need.
This Sunday, we're continuing our 3-week series on parables of Jesus. Paul Leslie will be with us to preach God's word on the Parable of the Rich Fool. Paul and his family are members at Tremont Temple Baptist Church and he has served churches in Cambridge and Arlington. He'll share with us about how to overcome worry in our lives, especially related to our finances.
Forgiveness is one of those things that might sound easy on the surface, but it can be incredibly difficult deep down. If we're honest, sometimes it seems like forgiveness isn't working even though God's word says it's supposed to.
This week, we begin a short series on Parables of Jesus called The Moral of the Story. Dr. Ed Keazirian, one of Pastor Josh and Whitney's beloved seminary professors, will explore this topic of forgiveness in Jesus' Parable of the Unjust Servant.
Did you know that Jesus talks more about money in the Gospels than he does about heaven and hell? Our finances are intimately personal and extremely powerful. Money is a crucial sign and source of our spiritual growth! This Sunday is Stewardship Sunday, which is the annual day we intentionally explore the topic of our finances. Our hope is that we all would "excel in this grace of giving" together.