Forward in Unity (Philippians 4:1-3)

This week we welcome back Pastor Steven White to preach God's word to us. Steven is Gordon-Conwell graduate and serves as Pastor of Student Ministries at First Baptist Church in Hampton Falls, NH. Steven continues our series in Philippians, expounding the first three verses of chapter 4 on unity in the church.

Forward in Perseverance (Philippians 3:12-21)

"Heartbreak Hill." This little hill in Newton near Boston College is famously one of the most difficult portions of the Boston Marathon course. It comes at mile 20, near the end of the race, and has caused many runners to drop out before they can reach the finish line. In our passage this Sunday, the Apostle Paul compares the Christian journey to a marathon. Because of the hills of difficulties or distractions or simply the length of the journey, it can be difficult to keep going and not give up. So how do we persevere in this race and keep moving forward in our relationship with Christ? That's what this week's passage is all about.

Forward in Knowing Christ (Philippians 3:1-11)

In this week's Scripture passage, Paul contrasts his life before knowing Christ to his life now. He uses some pretty strong language! It's all for the purpose of helping us see that there isn't anything we could pursue, accomplish, or wish for ourselves in this life than knowing Christ. But what does it mean to know Christ?

Forward in Obedience (Philippians 2:12-18)

After Paul writes of Christ's obedience even to the point of death on the cross, he now exhorts the Philippian church to continue in obedience, working out their salvation. We talk a lot about growing in obedience, or sanctification, in the church. But how does this actually work? And why is this so important for Christians if we'll be made perfect when we go to heaven? This passage will show us how obedience works and and why it's crucial to the Christian and to the world.

Forward in Humility (Philippians 2:1-11)

There's an old Jewish joke that says if you've got two rabbis you've probably got three opinions. Often the church seems like that as well -- theological differences, interpersonal conflicts, competing values and priorities, and more. Our Scripture passage this Sunday is an exhortation to unity through humility. But how can we grow in humility? Philippian 2:1-11 will show us.

Forward in Fearlessness (Philippians 1:27-30)

When you think of telling people about your faith in Jesus, what kinds of feelings come up? Most likely, fearis one of the emotions you feel. Fear of alienating a friend, offending someone, looking "weird," being labeled "intolerant" or "narrow-minded." In this week's passage, Paul reminds us of an amazing truth: because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, we are full-fledged citizens of heaven. And because of this, we can feel free to share our faith with others without fear, no matter what happens! (Remember, Paul wrote this letter from prison, so he knows what he's talking about!)

Forward in Hope (Philippians 1:19-26)

As we learned last week, Paul is writing from prison. Yet he says, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed" (1:20). How does Paul remain hopeful despite his imprisonment and potential execution? And how can we have the same kind of hope no matter the circumstances we face in our lives?

Some "diagnostic questions" to help us think about what we're putting our hope in:

  • What do I worry about most? Our worries indicate our worship (worship isn't just something "religious" people do).
  • What is it that, if I were to fail at it or lose it, would cause me to not want to live?
  • What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about? Where do I fixate my thoughts?
  • In what do I take the most pride? What is the first thing I want people to know about me?
  • What prayer, if left unanswered, would make me think about walking away from God?
  • What do I expect out of life in order to be happy?

Forward in the Gospel (Philippians 1:12-18)

This is Pastor Larry Showalter's final sermon as Senior Pastor of Ruggles Baptist Church. 

The subtitle of this sermon is, "Is What's Happening to Me Accomplishing Something for God?"

You are where you are. But what are you doing here in this workplace, in this academic institution, living in this neighborhood? Does God really have a purpose for your being here, or are your circumstances coincidental? Are you “lucky” or “unlucky” to be where you are?
Here’s a challenge: to receive your circumstances as from God, and to discover why he has you where you are. Is what’s happening to me/you accomplishing something for God?

Forward in Growth (Philippians 1:9-11)

Last Sunday, we looked at how we can practically follow Paul's example of love for the Philippian church through looking back (remembering what God has done in our lives) and looking forward (expecting what God is doing and will do in our lives). This week, we see Paul's specific prayer for the church: "that your love may abound more and more" (1:9). This is God's prayer for us as a church as well. How can we continue to move forward in love so that it abounds more and more in our individual lives and in our church?

While We Were Sleeping (Romans 5:1-11)

This is Memorial Day weekend in the United States, a time to remember those in the military who have made the "ultimate sacrifice," giving their lives defending and protecting our freedom.

In this week's Scripture passage (Romans 5:1-11), we see that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. However, his death bought a freedom even more precious than political freedom-- it was the freedom from sin and death.

The key verse is verse 8, which says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Mission Mindset (Matthew 28:16-20)

Ruggles Baptist Church was founded on May 24, 1878. So every year on or near this date we take time to reaffirm our mission as both individuals and as a church. What is our mission? To invite Boston and beyond into a life-changing relationship with Christ and his church. Today we'll look with fresh eyes at our "marching orders" from the Lord Jesus in the Great Commission: make disciples!

#Blessed (Genesis 11:27-12:9)

Many people say that Genesis 12 is the turning point in the whole story of Scripture. God calls Abram (aka Abraham) and promises to bless him. But this raises a number of questions for us. What does it mean to be blessed by God? How do we receive these blessings? Why does God bless us? And where does this fit in to the story of salvation in the whole Bible? The Lord answers all of these questions and more in Genesis 12. 

Our Babylonian Hearts (Genesis 10:32-11:9)

This week's passage is all about the people who decided to build a tower to the sky, and the Lord's response to their disobedience. What was at the heart of God's decision to confuse their language and scatter them over the earth? Perhaps the key is their motivation for the construction of their skyscraper: "let us make a name for ourselves."

And what about us? Are the cities that we build and inhabit for the purpose of making a name for ourselves, or honoring the name of Jesus Christ? 

Love Covers Shame (Genesis 9:18-29)

How can this be?? Is this really Noah, righteous man of God, giant of the faith? Drunk, passed out, naked, humiliated by his son? Why is this story here, and what does it show us about the roots of our redemption? If you've ever thought to yourself, "How could God ever love someone like me?" then you need to hear this. 

An Illustrated Story of the Gospel (Romans 3:24)

This Easter Sunday we are taking a break from the series, “The Roots of Our Redemption” to dwell on our redemption. The Scripture for Sunday is one short verse, Romans 3:24.
“All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Through a series of illustrations we hope to present the story of the Gospel this Resurrection Sunday. On Good Friday it looked like Jesus was defeated on the cross. What looked like defeat on Friday was actually an epic victory over evil confirmed by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is alive!

God's Reboot (Genesis 6:5-7:24)

The Flood is one of the most well-known stories in all the Bible, especially for children. But this is no fluffy fairy tale. It's an account of wickedness and judgment and death. God hits the restart button and reboots the whole earth because humanity had become so corrupt. Yet Noah "finds favor" (grace) with God, who preserves him and his family through the storm. In this passage, we'll see the gravity of God's judgment against sin and the great lengths he goes to save us.

Fear of God's Judgment (Genesis 6:1-8)

This difficult passage clearly demonstrates the judgment of God. How do you live the abundant Christian life in view of God’s ability to wipe you out? The prospect of God’s judgment serves to eliminate from your options that you can come to Jesus and do whatever you immorally want. Are you looking to see what you can get away with in your Christian walk? Instead of focusing on your brokenness, give greatest attention to knowing and loving God so that your love for him motivates you to live in harmony with his will. But how do you live this way if you are afraid of his judgment?