Our Blog

Filter By:

Student Ministry - January 2022

main image

We live in an amazing time in history. Never before in the existence of the world has there been less poverty, less infant mortality (not counting the atrocity of abortion), less hunger, longer lives, and healthier lives. But what is odd is that simultaneously there has never been more open expressions of depression and anxiety amongst people in the world. We live in the best of times and the worst of times. And I’m afraid that even us in the church can accidentally lose sight of how salvation benefits us and how it rescues us from the darkness of this world. We often either bemoan the fallenness of creation, or we revel in the amazing advances of society that we get to enjoy on a regular basis. 

As we enter the new year, I think it important to focus on the glory of our salvation, which is freely given to us in Christ. We cannot be overwhelmed by the world, for we are more than conquerors in Christ (Romans 8:37-39). And we cannot succumb to the temptations of the world, nor think that the world’s solutions are ultimate, for we were bought from the world with a great price (1 Cor. 6:18-20). So what do we need to do? We need to look to Christ and the blessing of His salvation that we so easily take for granted. We need to revel in the awesome power of the blood of Christ to rescue us both in the present and future. 

Why do I bring this up? As I consider this world and the upcoming generations, it has become clear to me that many, if not most, people do not feel a need for salvation. If they need something, they buy it on Amazon and have it there the next day. If they feel lonely or bored, they get online, text someone, FaceTime with someone, watch a movie, or play video games with people from all over the world. If we are sick, we go to the doctor, and, for the majority of the time, we are cured of our ailment. Things that would necessarily mean the end of your life a hundred years ago simply require routine out-patient procedures today. All of this amazing advancement in technology and ability to manipulate how we live makes it more understandable for younger generations with limited life experience to simply not see the great need for salvation in Christ. What is there to be saved from when most of the problems in life can be solved through medicine, technology, and next day delivery? 

That is a great question. And anyone reading this can point out many things that medicine, tech, and fast deliveries have not and cannot solve at all. Ultimately these things cannot solve the deepest and most important problems in life. They are mere band aids compared to the reality of hatred, injustice, self-destructive heart motives, and death. From these flow symptoms like anxiety and depression, which are the number one felt-need problems facing the world today. Our biggest problems are practically ignored while we medicate ourselves with the internet, instant-gratification, and literal medicine. 

But salvation! Salvation in Christ is THE solution! Christ is our hero who saves us from loveless lives, wickedness, unholy hearts, and death. He kills the power of all of our problems! How does He do this? Really the question is, how did He do this? It has already been done. All we have to do is trust in what has been done for us. He has already killed the power of sin when He took sin into Himself on the cross and dragged it into the grave (2 Cor. 5:21, Romans 6:1-11). They thought they slayed the Lord of Life that day. But the Lord of Life took sin and death and put them into a tomb and left them there! The power of your hate, wickedness, wrongful suffering, internal sinful desires, and ultimate death is dead (1 Cor. 15:50-56). In Christ, you can overcome these things here and now, and you will overcome death and live eternally. As the writhing serpent of anxiety, depression, anger, jealousy, lust, and greed tries to wrap itself around you as you go about your days, just look to the Savior who has already stomped that serpent to death. You are a conqueror in Christ, so remain in Him, because He has saved you. 

Posted by Brian Van Doren with

Worship - January 2022

main image

Putting together this year's Christmas Night of Worship was an absolute joy.  In particular, thinking through and meditating on the gospel and how we wanted to communicate it during the course of the evening was a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me personally. Everyone did an incredible job, and I was so happy with how we were together able to focus our eyes on Christ and what He has done. But what I found as I was putting all the pieces of the program together was that there was so much more I wanted to say! If you were not able to attend, or have not had a chance to watch the video recording, you can find it at www.vimeo.com/oakhillbc or you can contact the church office and get a DVD copy. I am not saying all of this as a way to pat myself on the back or to say “look how good we did,” because all we did that night was say “look how awesome God is!” and I believe it will be an encouragement to you. 

We of course set out to communicate throughout the entire program that Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and that it is only through His atoning work that we may be saved. I believe we were able to communicate this truth in a very powerful way, but, as I mentioned, there is always so much more to be said about Him. Throughout this entire process I was reminded of a truth that we do not necessarily think about when we talk about Jesus being the only way to heaven. Any good Baptist will, at a moment’s notice, be ready to affirm that salvation is only found in Jesus! But the truth I want to remind each and every one of us about today is that Jesus is not just the only effective Savior, He is the only possible Savior! And the way in which He went about redeeming His creation is the only possible way in which we could have been saved! 

This truth is hinted at in Revelation 5, which we very briefly looked at during the course of the Night of Worship. Within John's vision he sees that there is a scroll in the right hand of God the Father, who is seated on the throne. All we can do is make guesses about the contents of this scroll, but what we do know is that God’s plan for all of creation is dependent upon this scroll being opened. The problem is that the scroll can’t be opened. John writes, “And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.” (vv. 3-4). As far as John can tell, God’s redemption plan has been stopped in its tracks because nowhere in heaven or on earth or under the earth can someone be found who is worthy to open this scroll. Not one person or being. 

Then one of the elders directs our attention to the Lamb, “standing, as though it had been slain” (v. 6), and the elders tell us some amazing things about this Lamb. First of all, we are told that the Lamb “has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”  In other words, this Lamb is able to open the scroll because He has conquered something. Secondly, the four living creatures and the elders sing, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God” (v. 9). Some translations read, “because you were slain.” There is a clear cause and effect that has taken place because the Lamb of God has died and has conquered. Without these two things taking place, death and resurrection, there is no conqueror, there is no one worthy to open the scroll, and creation is not redeemed.  If even one of the elements of the gospel is missing, then no one will ever be worthy to open the scroll and to enact God’s redemption plan. Remember that no one else, “in heaven or on earth or under the earth” was found worthy to open the scroll. It had to be the Lamb, the Lamb had to be slain, and the Lamb had to conquer death. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not just the only way to heaven because it's the one option that just so happened to work. The blood of Jesus was the only possible means of forgiveness, and it was all part of God’s plan from the very beginning.

Posted by Derek Niffenegger with

12345678910 ... 283284