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: [1Corinthians] [Biblical Shepherding] [Hebrews (2017-18)] [Hopewell 101] [The Lord's Day] [Lord's Supper Table Lessions] [Family Worship Teaching Times]

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

2018.08.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 4:5-31

Questions for Littles: Who were gathered together to put Peter and John on trial (v5-6)? What did they ask (v7)? By what name does Peter tell them they had done a good deed to a helpless man (v8-10)? What else does Peter say about Jesus in v10? What does he quote in v11? What does he say about Jesus’ name in v12? What did the accusers and court realize about them in v13? Still, what did they decide to do in v14-17? What command did they give in v18? How did Peter and John answer in 19? What did they feel that they had to do (v20)? What did they do to them in v21? What couldn’t they do to them, and why (v21-22)? What do the apostles acknowledge about God in v24? Whom do they recognize Psalm 2 as being about (v25-27)? What did the nations and Israel do, according to v28? For what do the apostles ask in v29? What did they immediately go out and do at the end of v31?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Acts 4. In this particular passage, the apostles are on trial, and the Lord actually uses those who are trying to punish them to give them a great opportunity. Their captors actually ask them by what power or name they had healed the man!!

Of course, that’s a great big softball, and the Holy Spirit fills Peter and enables him to knock it right out of the park. He doesn’t just tell them that it was Jesus—but the crucified and risen Jesus in whose name alone there can be any salvation!

The court threatens them, but how much of a threat is it really? The apostles have read all about the nations raging in Psalm 2, and they know something very important: God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass.

Dear Christian, don’t you realize this about yourself, your friends, and even your worst enemies: though each of us is responsible for our willful actions, we all do “whatever God’s hand and God’s purpose determined before to be done.”

The cross, of course, is the greatest example of this. And the effect of it is that the Scripture here gives us a model prayer: not so much that we would be comfortable, but rather that we would be faithful. We can trust our ultimate comfort to God, who sovereignly works all things for our good.
In what difficulty is God’s sovereignty enabling you to focus on doing right?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

Monday, August 13, 2018

2018.08.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 13:1-4

Questions for Littles: How many souls should be subject (v1)? To whom should they be subject? Where does all authority come from? Who has appointed the authorities that exist? If we resist authority, what do we really resist (v2)? If we resist authority, what will we bring upon ourselves? To what kind of works are rulers a terror (v3)? What should we do, if we want to be unafraid of authority? From whom also, then, will we get praise? Whose minister to us is the authority (v4)? For what purpose? When should we be afraid? What does the authority bear, and no in vain? What is the authority to be upon him who practices evil? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we were reminded of the significance of the fact that every man must answer to God. Authority was not our idea, it was God’s. Everyone is under authority, and everyone must answer… and ultimately everyone will answer to the Lord.

This is why we must never resist the idea of authority. In our sinfulness, we don’t like to be under authority, but God doesn’t need to consult us on how He operates His creation.

When God told Noah, in Genesis 9, that the one who sheds man’s blood must have his blood shed by man, God commanded the death penalty for murderers. Of course, God could easily kill all murderers Himself, but in giving that command, He established that there must be an authority who oversees, who investigates, who determines guilt, who carries out sentences.

Sadly, man corrupts authority—just as he corrupts all of God’s good gifts. So, there are authorities of whom we might rightly be afraid… IF God hadn’t said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”

Ultimately, if we do what is good, even if the immediate authority above us does not approve, God does. He will take vengeance upon any wrong done to us. He will even reward us—for Jesus’s sake!—for any good that we have done in Christ. The ultimate authority will even praise us!

Note that this logic only applies if it is God who determines what is “good” in v3-4. We recognize God’s authority by refusing all commands to do evil!

However, if we do what God calls evil, His justice will fully agree with the just punishments that we receive. And that is good reason to be afraid!
What authorities are over you? When and why must you obey them?
Suggested Songs: ARP95B “Today If You Will Hear His Voice” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”