Monday, March 18, 2019

Mark 1:1-8 "Humbled to Worship the Lord" - 2019.03.17 Morning Sermon

This sermon was a blessing. May the Spirit whom the Lord Jesus pours out on His own continue to use it to produce in us that humility He produced in John, so that He might magnify in our eyes that glory of Christ that He magnified in John's eyes.
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Zack Groff | Hopewell Associate Reformed Presbyterian

2019.03.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 1:1-8

Questions for Littles: Of what is this a beginning (Mark 1:1)? Of whose gospel, in particular, is it the beginning—what three things is He called? Where had the next couple verses been written originally (Mark 1:2)? What would the Lord send before the Christ’s face? What is the messenger doing? Whose way, specifically, was the messenger to prepare (Mark 1:3)? What two things did John come doing (Mark 1:4)? What did his baptism promise? How effective was this preaching (Mark 1:5)? How impressive was John (Mark 1:6)? Whom did he say would be far more impressive (Mark 1:7)? What baptism would this Person give to truly accomplish what John’s baptism could only point forward to (Mark 1:8)?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learn immediately what kind of writing Mark has written. It is a gospel. It is good news. And it is good news about Jesus, whose name means, “the Lord saves.” And it is good news about the Christ, which is a title that means, “anointed One.” And it is good news about the Son of God, which means that here is One who is not created by God, but rather begotten of God—One who is very God of very God… One who is God Himself.

This is good news about how the Lord God became a man that He might save us as the anointed One. Such an One about whom we need to hear such news deserves someone to announce that He is here. And that’s what the Baptizer was doing. He was preparing the way for the Savior by announcing what it was from which we need saving: our sins.

The Baptizer announced repentance, but that couldn’t take away sin. Have you ever even tried just to stop sin? We can’t. Not in this life. And not at all on our own. In repentance, we recognize sin for what it is, and determine our whole selves against it. Repentance includes feeling sorry against our sin, but it is so much more than sorry-feeling. It’s a declaration of war!

But still, there is that sin that stands against us. What’s the good news? That there is remission of sin—the canceling of sin from our account with God. And it’s good news of Jesus Christ because He doesn’t just wash us with water as a sign that this canceling of sin can happen. No, Jesus Christ washes us with His own Holy Spirit. He actually cleanses us. The Holy Spirit joins us, through faith, to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s death satisfies for the guilt of our sin. Jesus Christ’s obedience earns every possible blessing for us. Jesus Christ’s status becomes ours, and we are adopted as children. Jesus Christ’s life becomes ours, and the life that we then live, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. This is the blessed work of the Holy Spirit whom He gives us!
Who is the Holy Spirit? What does He offer to do for you? Have you asked Him to do it?
Suggested Songs: ARP51A-B “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH392 “Holy Ghost, Dispel Our Sadness”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019.03.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 1:1-8

Questions for Littles: Of what is this a beginning (Mark 1:1)? Of whose gospel, in particular, is it the beginning—what three things is He called? Where had the next couple verses been written originally (Mark 1:2)? What would the Lord send before the Christ’s face? What is the messenger doing? Whose way, specifically, was the messenger to prepare (Mark 1:3)? What two things did John come doing (Mark 1:4)? What did his baptism promise? How effective was this preaching (Mark 1:5)? How impressive was John (Mark 1:6)? Whom did he say would be far more impressive (Mark 1:7)? What baptism would this Person give to truly accomplish what John’s baptism could only point forward to (Mark 1:8)
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we hear the beginning of Mark’s gospel. Immediately, in Mark 1:1, he tells us that he is writing a gospel. It’s like placing a headline, or a cover page on the book that announces GOOD NEWS. So, one thing that we may want to do as we read through this book is to frequently ask ourselves, “how is this good news?”

That question is actually answered in at least three ways before the verse is over.
  1. His name is Jesus. Why was He called Jesus? (look at Matthew1:21). 
  2. His title is Christ. This is a Greek translation of the word, “Messiah,” or “Anointed One.” Jesus is the promised forever-king of 2 Samuel 7, the promised forever-priest of Psalm 110, the promised final great prophet of Deuteronomy 18 (cf. Acts 3:22-23).  
  3. His identity is that He is the Son of God. God Himself has come as our Savior, King, Priest, and Prophet.
Mark goes on to show the faithfulness of God, His perfect reliability. God promised that He Himself would come, and that He would first send a messenger (Mark 1:2-3). And John came, exactly as God promised (Mark 1:4-7).

But there’s a huge difference here between the messenger and the Messiah. What did John baptize with? The messenger baptized with water, a symbol of the people’s need for repenting from sin and being forgiven of sin.

And in Mark 1:8, what does John say that Jesus will baptize with? Again, we can see that Jesus must be not just a man but God Himself, for He pours God Himself the Holy Spirit out upon those whom He baptizes. Jesus’ baptism gives the repentance and forgiveness that John’s baptism could only tell us that we needed.
Have you come to Jesus for washing? How does He give forgiveness? Repentance?
Suggested Songs: ARP32 “What Blessedness” or TPH391 “Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit”

Friday, March 15, 2019

2019.03.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 11:1-16

Questions for Littles: Who was sick (John 11:1)? What was the town called? What does John 11:2 note about Mary? To whom do the sisters send (John 11:3)? What did the sisters call their brother? What does Jesus say the sickness is not unto (John 11:4)? What does Jesus say that the sickness is for? What does John 11:5 tell us about Jesus? What did He do because He loved them (John 11:6)? Then what does He say to the disciples (John 11:7)? What objection do the disciples have to going to Judea (John 11:8)? What does Jesus say can’t happen to Him while He walks in the day (John 11:9)? What does He then say about Lazarus (John 11:11)? What do the disciples think this means (John 11:12)? But what does Jesus actually mean (John 11:13-14)? What does Jesus say that He feels about this death (John 11:15)? Why? What does Thomas propose that they go do with Jesus?
In the Gospel reading this week, we saw some things that were precious and some that were surprising. It is precious to hear Bethany called “the town of” Christ’s friends. It is precious to have Mary identified by her displays of love to Christ. It is precious to see the sisters call Lazarus “he whom You love.” It is precious to read, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” And, indeed it is precious (and perhaps slightly surprising) to see Thomas saying, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

The love of the Savior for His own, and the love of them for Him, is deeply precious!

But there is also several surprises in this passage. We might be surprised to read that this sickness is not unto death—or at least, we are very surprised when after Jesus says that, Lazarus dies. He sets us up to expect that this is not in fact the end.

It is also surprising that it was precisely because of His love for them that Jesus doesn’t immediately go to them. How can that be love? We often ask the same question in our own lives. But Jesus intended to show them something greater than they even thought to ask.

Then, it is surprising that Jesus decides to go to Judea. Apparently, the disciples hadn’t minded not going up, because when Jesus decides to go, they decide that His plan is insane. But Jesus cannot die, because His time hasn’t come yet. He even hints at the great theme of this chapter: He alone has light and life in Himself!
How do you know Jesus loves you? How do you know you love Jesus? What circumstances don’t seem to be showing His love? Do you trust what He’s doing?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains”

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019.03.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8

Questions for Littles: What do we not lose (2 Corinthians 4:16)? What is perishing? What is being renewed? How often? What does the apostle call our affliction in 2 Corinthians 4:17? How long does he say it lasts? What is it working for us? How does this glory compare in length? How does this glory compare in weight? What do we need to do in the meantime (2 Corinthians 4:18)? Why? What does 2 Corinthians 5:1 call our bodies? But where is the unseen house? What do we do in the seen house (2 Corinthians 5:2)? How do we feel about our unseen house? How do we feel without that house (2 Corinthians 5:3)? Is our desire to be unclothed of our physical body (2 Corinthians 5:4a)? What should our desire be? Who has prepared us for this (2 Corinthians 5:5a)? How has He guaranteed/assured us that these things are ours (2 Corinthians 5:5b)? What effect does this have upon our attitudes (2 Corinthians 5:6a2 Corinthians 5:8a)? What are we currently at home in and away from (2 Corinthians 5:6b)? How will we feel about being away from the body instead and present with the Lord instead (2 Corinthians 5:8b)? How, therefore, must we walk (2 Corinthians 5:7)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn the key to viewing any and all earthly troubles as just light and momentary. Seeing what is invisible.

The problem is that our troubles are very visible. They do not look light but weighty. They do not look momentary but long. But these troubles are not just going to be replaced by an eternal weight of glory. They are actually working for us this eternal weight of glory. As our outward man perishes, we remember that bodily suffering is for a short time. And as we learn and grow in these trials, we “see” that our inward man is being made fit for glory.

Of course, we don’t “see” that—our souls are invisible. And that helps us develop our x-ray vision by which we see the unseen: faith. Our souls have far more to look forward to than mortal, perishable bodies. First and foremost, we look forward to the immediate presence of our Redeemer and His glory. Second, and also glorious, our souls look forward to a resurrection in which our new bodies will be immortal and suit our eternal inheritance of the glory of Christ.

Faith doesn’t just see these things. It is confident of these things. And it grows in this confidence because of the Holy Spirit. He teaches our hearts to call God Father, and we grow confident of our adoption. He teaches our hearts to love God Himself, and we grow confident that God Himself is our inheritance. He teaches us to walk by faith, not by sight, and to look forward with joy to an eternal weight of glory!
What troubles are you going through? What are they working for you? How do you know?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH466 “My Faith Looks up to Thee”