Escalate Sermon Blog & Connection Point Questions

Redemption Completed - Ruth 4:1-22

October 30, 2013 by Matt Morgan

When we have a need it is of no help to us to go to a person (or thing) that is either unwilling or unable (or both) to help us. For example, if I need some help with my taxes I'm not going to go to Starbucks and ask one of the baristas if he can help me with my taxes. There are two reasons for this: First, he is probably going to be busy making drinks for other customers, so he's going to be unwilling to help. Second, he probably doesn't have a background as a CPA and is unable to help me with my taxes. Instead of going to Starbucks I would need to go to H&R Block where there are CPAs who would be both willing and able to help me with my taxes. Not surprisingly the same is true in regards to a redeemer. Each and every person has a sin problem and stands in need of redemption. But we can't place our hope and trust in redeemers that are unwilling and/or unable to redeem us. Instead we have to place our faith in the Redeemer who is both willing and able to redeem us.

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Choosing to Rest in a Redeemer - Ruth 3:1-18

October 22, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Chapter 2 of Ruth seemed to end on a very positive note - Boaz had graciously provided for Ruth and Naomi and it seemed that the time of barley and wheat harvest was going to be very productive time for these widowed women. So what more could this story have for us? That's a good observation, but it's also an incomplete one. The problem at the end of chapter 1 wasn't that these women needed to be provided for with food and a safe place to glean. These women needed something of even greater significance - redemption. And what we will discover in chapter 3 is that while Ruth had been introduced to a good redeemer, there was a decision that she still needed to make before redemption could be hers. And like Ruth, God has provided us with an even greater Redeemer, but we too have a decision that we have to make.

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The Character of a Redeemer - Ruth 2:1-23

October 16, 2013 by Matt Morgan

How do you identify someone you don't know? That's a weird question! In our world the most popular answer would probably be, "Goggle them!" But there was a time not so long ago when you couldn't just "google" someone. And so if you needed to identify someone that you didn't know, you needed clues. "Blind dates" were a great example. Two individuals might have been set up for a date by a mutual friend. But because the two individuals did not know what the other one looked like, they had to provide clues to help identify one another for their date. For example the man might have brought a red carnation for the woman to look for, and the woman might have told the man ahead of time what she would be wearing. These were necessary clues that they needed in order to identify one another. And in the OT God did something similar for humanity. He had promised to send a Messiah to rescue and redeem them, but they didn't know who He would be. So all throughout the OT God provided people with clues to help them identify Him. In the text of Ruth 2 God provided some really great clues to help us identify the character of THE Redeemer.

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What Do You Need? - Ruth 1:1-22

October 8, 2013 by Matt Morgan

This week we start a new sermon series through the Old Testament book of Ruth. It is story that is highly regarded by many as one of the best in the Bible. The story begins the way that many stories often do - by defining the problem and the need of the main characters. And that will be the emphasis our our study this week - because unless we rightly understand the problem and the need, we'll miss the greater purpose of the story as a whole. So whether you know the story of Ruth well or you've never heard of it before, we invite you to come along with us as we unpack this story of redemption and look to see if God could do something similar in our own lives.

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Why Proclaim the Gospel? - Romans 9:30-10:17

September 17, 2013 by Matt Morgan

While Christianity is supposed to be a faith centered on a relationship with the Person of Jesus and built upon the story of the Bible (which from start to finish is a story about God's redemptive work in human history through the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), there has developed in America a "cultural Christianity." Christianity has become more of a fluid concept in our culture today, in which many individuals who profess to be "Christians" can hold a wide variety of views about who God is, who Jesus is, and how one can know that they have right standing with God. Today our culture seems to value open-minded approaches to knowing God and a person's right to choose what he or she believes. So in a culture that values's an open-minded approach to Christianity, why do we hold so strongly to the proclamation of salvation through faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection alone. We'll explore the answer this week as we work through several verses in Paul's letter to the church at Rome.


A Few Last Things - 1 Corinthians 16:1-24

September 9, 2013 by Matt Morgan

How do you end an examination of a NT letter? What do you do when you see bold faced headings in a final chapter that read things like "Plans for Travel," or "Greetings." Do you mentally check out and just go through the motions of reading the words? Do you make the assumption that there won't be anything of great significance which God can use in your own life to challenge and continue to shape you? (After all, this was a letter and it was customary at the time for the author to give some final greetings.) Or do you stay engaged, believing that even in the final few verses the Holy Spirit can open your eyes to significant truths? I hope you'll choose the latter this week as we conclude our examination of Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Even in the last few verses of his letter Paul included some important truths we need to hear and meditate on.

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Resurrection and Transformation Spell Ultimate Defeat - 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

September 3, 2013 by Matt Morgan

"Powerless" means that one is without any power. It doesn't mean that some of his power is removed or that most of his power is removed, it means that all of his power is removed. Paul had earlier written that death would be the last enemy put under Jesus' feet. But what will that look like? What will it look like when death is rendered completely powerless? Paul answered that question in these last few verses of chapter 15 and then exhorted the church at Corinth to live out their lives in light of what is to come.

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A Transformation Worth Getting Excited About - 1 Corinthians 15:35-49

August 27, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Have you ever gotten really excited about a new version of something? Most of us have probably heard of individuals lining up outside of stores to get a newer version of some product which they have enjoyed in the past. For some it's the latest version of the iPhone or the iPad; for some it's the latest version of a gaming system like the XBox or Playstation; and for some it's the latest version of some other thing. But what is if for you? What thing are you anxiously awaiting the newer, transformed version of? If you are a believer in Christ, the apostle Paul suggested that there is a transformation coming that is really worth getting excited about. We will discover exactly what that is as we examine the next portion of his letter to the church at Corinth this week.

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Don't Leave Out the Resurrection - 1 Corinthians 15:12-34

August 26, 2013 by Matt Morgan

In the first eleven verses of chapter 15 we were challenged to remember and reflect on the gospel each day. We made the case that we can't allow the good news of the gospel to only become one bullet on a list of spiritual things to believe which we check off and move on from. The gospel is something that we should be reflecting on each day and allowing to shape our lives. And this week we will be challenged not to leave out the resurrection when we are reflecting on the gospel. Paul made clear in those first few verses what the essential parts of the gospel were. But perhaps we are sometimes guilty of only reflecting on certain parts. Reflecting on Jesus' death and burial is comforting at times because it reminds us that Jesus took our place and that our sins are forgiven and paid for. But we also have to reflect on the resurrection! In this portion of chapter 15 we will see some important reasons why.

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Remember the Gospel! Every Day! - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

August 13, 2013 by Matt Morgan

We titled this series through the NT letter of 1 Corinthians "Confused?" The reason for this title is because the church at Corinth seemed to be confused about the ways in which God, Jesus, and the gospel were to impact their everyday lives. One of the reasons this may have been the case was because the believers in Corinth were not remembering and reflecting on the gospel each day. Perhaps like many believers in Jesus today, they viewed the gospel as something to believe in and then move on from (like a box to check off on a spiritual to-do list). It's no wonder then that they were confused about the gospel's implications in their everyday lives - they never realized the significance of reflecting on it every day. So in the first few verses of chapter 15 Paul took the time to remind these believers of the gospel - something they needed to do regularly to rightly live their own lives. And as we look at the state of the Church in America today, we seem to being seeing a church that looks a lot like the church at Corinth. Perhaps it's because we are guilty of the same thing. We need to realize the significance of the gospel for our lives each day and take the time to remind ourselves of the good news of forgiveness and salvation through God's Son, Jesus, on a daily basis.

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