Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017.12.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 4:14-16

Questions for Littles: Who is our great High Priest (v14)? Through what has He passed? To what, then, should we hold fast? What do we not have, according to v15? Like whom was Jesus tempted? In how many points was He tempted as we are? What is the difference between Jesus’ response to temptation and ours? To where, then, should we come (v16)? In what manner should we come to the throne? What kind of throne is it for us? What do we hope to obtain and find at the throne? When should we come to the throne of grace for mercy and grace? 
In the Scripture for the sermon this week, we learned that we must hold fast to our confession of Jesus as our High Priest—that is, to hold fast to Jesus Himself. We do so because He is worthy, and because we are needy.

First, He is worthy. Jesus is the Son of God (v14), and so there is no more powerful or glorious High Priest possible.

Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness, with our neediness, so there is no more appropriate High Priest possible. He was made like us in every way, and in all points tempted as we are.

And, Jesus is sinless, so there is no more effective High Priest possible. He does not have sin of His own to cleanse, and He offers Himself as the actual perfect sacrifice. The unspottedness of the former sacrifices could only hint at that perfection which is a reality in Christ. Whatever Jesus does on our behalf in glory is always effective.

Second, He is gracious. In our union with Christ, we come together all the way to the throne of glory. What do we find there? That the throne of glory is for us a throne of grace. Our Mediator, our great High Priest, is not bowed down before the throne. He is seated upon it!

The wonder of all of this is that we do not have to wait until we are strong or pure to go there. And that is good, because right now is our time of need. Right now is when we need mercy. Right now is when we need grace. Right now is when we need help. And right now, already, we may come.

When and how do we do that? Every time that we pray, we do that. But we especially do it when we are together, gathered as His church, gathered as those who confess Him together!
Which do you forget about most easily: Jesus’ power, sympathy, or sinlessness? How will you go about learning and reminding yourself of it, to help you hold fast to Him?
Suggested Songs: ARP183 “Under His Wings” or HB385 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017.12.03 Worship Assembly Information

It's Friday! Just two more days to get ready for the holy, called assembly of the church on God's holy day!
  • Sermon text: Hebrews 5:1-10 (https://goo.gl/rYFzk9)
  • Songs: As with Gladness Men of Old (Phil 2:1-11, https://goo.gl/s2Siyy) · Under His Wings (Psalm 91, https://goo.gl/ZWtQat) · Crown Him with Many Crowns (Heb 5:1-10, https://goo.gl/cvtzWT)
  • Children’s Catechism: Q. 46. Did our Lord Jesus Christ ever commit the least sin? A. No; he was holy, harmless, and undefiled.
  • Shorter Catechism: Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression? A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

Worship Folder

2017.12.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 5:21-43

Questions for Littles: When Jesus crossed back to the Jewish side of the lake, who gathered to him (v21)? Who fell at his feet in v22? What did he ask Jesus to do in v23? Where did Jesus go in v24? Who went with Him? For how long had the woman in v25 had a flow of blood? How had she tried to get better (26)? What did she try now (27)? How quickly was she healed when she touched Jesus (28-29)? What did Jesus ask (30)? Why did the disciples think this was a silly question (31)? How did the woman respond (33)? What does Jesus call her (34)? What has happened during this time (35)? What did Jesus say to the synagogue ruler in v36? Whom did He bring with Him now in v37? What does He say about the girl in v39? By the end of v40, who is there? What does he call the daughter in v41? How old was she (42)? How do they respond? What two things does He command them in v43?
In the Gospel reading this week, we find two daughters. The Holy Spirit gives us the little girl’s age and the length of the woman’s suffering so that we will connect the two.

Other than that, the two seem to have little in common. The woman is by herself. She is out of resources. No one seems to care about her. The little girl has parents. Her father is the synagogue ruler. She has her own crowd of people weeping and wailing for her.

But our Savior brings the invisible woman out into the light. He who is full of the Spirit, and knows so much about so many—did He not know who had been healed? Of course He does, but He wants everyone else to know. He wants everyone else to see her with Him. He wants everyone else to hear Him call her daughter.

Then, there’s the opposite in the house. He only takes three of the disciples. He tells the truth that the girl is sleeping (her soul has not departed but is waiting by her body to obey Christ’s command). When people mock, He takes it as an opportunity to retain only Jairus and Mrs. Jairus. He’s not interested in provoking the mob to try to enthrone Him as king. Although He had called the ‘invisible’ woman “daughter,” he calls the little girl “little girl.”

Jesus hid from everyone else what we have an easier time remembering: that He is infinitely glorious! But He put on display what we have a more difficult time accepting: that He is wondrously merciful. To Him, there are no invisible women. To Him, that woman is considered with all the tenderness of a daughter.

And so are you, dear Christian. You may have no one else. You may have nothing else. You may have tried everything. The Lord Jesus can heal you and cares for you as for a daughter!
In what current situation do you most need to remember Christ’s power and tender mercy?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or HB130 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017.11.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 6:1-11

Questions for Littles: Why do some say that we should continue in sin (v1)? Why shouldn’t we live in sin any longer (v2)? Into whom were we baptized (3a)? Into what were we baptized (3b)? What happened to us in Christ’s death (v4)? What do we walk in, as a result of Christ’s resurrection (4b)? In the likeness of what have we been united together with Christ (v5)? What does Christ’s death keep us from being slaves of (v6)? How are we freed from sin (v7)? If we have died with Christ, what else will we do with Him (v8)? What can’t Christ do, now that He has been raised from the dead (v9)? Which of Christ’s works in v10 happened just once for all time? Which of Christ’s works in v10 happen continuously forever? How should we think of ourselves in relation to sin (11a)? How should we think of ourselves toward God in Christ Jesus our Lord (11b)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn one of the primary things that Baptism is supposed to teach us about. Our union with Christ.

Everyone whom the Lord adds to the church receives the sign of water baptism. And just like with circumcision (remember chapter 2?), the outward sign of baptism is a loud reminder of how urgently we must have the inward spiritual reality.

And what is that spiritual reality? Jesus Christ. We receive water baptism when we are being admitted into the visible church. That’s one of the reason that our children, who are in the church, must receive it.

But, what baptism goes with our admittance into the eternal, currently invisible, assembly of all of those who are genuinely saved? Into what are they baptized? v3 tells us most clearly: we are baptized into Christ! We are joined to Jesus Christ by believing into Him!

He is the Lamb with whom we are united. His is the blood that is sprinkled upon us. His is the cleansing power that washes us clean. When we are baptized into Christ, His death becomes our death.

But Christ has done something glorious that those other lambs could never do: He has risen from the dead. Believing into Him joins us not just into His death that cleanses us from sin, but also into His resurrection. Sin can never be our master again. Instead, being joined to Jesus means that for the first time in our “lives” we are made alive unto God in Jesus Christ!

This is what it means to have been born again by Jesus’ life: to be spiritually alive for the very first time! If you believe in Jesus, you can kill sin now! You can obey God now! Do it!
What sins can you (and should you) be killing by the life of Jesus in you? What service of obedience are you focused upon offering unto God by the resurrection life of Jesus in you?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face,” or HB310 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017.11.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 7:11-24

Questions for Littles: In what year, month, and day of Noah’s life did the flood come (v11)? How long was the rain on the earth (v12)? How long had Noah and his family been on the ark (v13)? What else came with them (v14-15)? Who shut them in (v16)? How long did the waters increase (v17)? How high did the waters rise (v17-20)? What happened to all flesh and breathing creatures (v21-22)? Who did it (v23)? Who remained alive? How long was it before the water level started to decrease (v24)? 
In this week’s Old Testament reading, the flood itself finally came.

One sad reality of the days in which we live is that there are those, even who call themselves Reformed, who teach that the earth is billions of years old, that humans never lived hundreds of years, and that the flood either didn’t happen at all or that it was just a local flood.

These lies attack the power and goodness of God in the creation, and the justice and wrath of God in the flood: the very things for which we were praising the Lord yesterday in Psalm 104. When we come to this passage, we find just how hard someone has to work to reject the clear meaning of Scripture to arrive at such positions.

Look at the dating method in v11. The six hundredth year of Noah’s life, the second month, the seventeenth day of the month. It’s very specific. It doesn’t leave room for denying the ages of the fathers before the flood. It doesn’t leave room for holes in the length of time covered by the genealogy. It screams that the flood is an historical event, that it began on a particular day in history!

As for the flood being local—exactly how does it stay local and also ascend 15 cubits above the highest hills and cover all the mountains? Keeping the water from spilling over would be quite the trick!

But it’s not just the truth about God’s glorious attributes that the lie-spreaders hide from our view. It’s also the greatness of our sin, the greatness of our danger. v23 snaps our sin and danger right back into our view: We deserve to be destroyed from the earth!

But it also snaps God’s grace into view: so did Noah. So did those who were with him. But the Lord was gracious. And He is still gracious to all who are in Jesus Christ. Hide in Him!
Where might you hear that Genesis and the flood are a myth? How will you prepare not to give in? What is the connection between the cross and God’s right anger against your sin?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness,” or HB199 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2017.11.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104

Questions for Littles: How does this Psalm begin in the first two lines of v1 and end in the last two lines of v35? With what is God clothed (v1-2)? What are like house and chariot for Him (v2-3)? What was the Lord’s part in creation (v5)? In the flood (v6)? In the restoration (v7-9)? What has the Lord done for His various creatures, according to v10-14 and v16-22? What three things did God invent/create for man, and for what purposes (15)? What does man spend his day doing (23)? How does God’s work compare (24-26)? For what do all creatures depend upon the Lord in 27-28? For what do they depend upon Him in v29-30? What belongs to the Lord in v31a? In v31b? How do v33-34 correspond to that? Comparing v32 and v35a, what do those verses show about God? With their placement in the middle of delighting in God and glorifying Him, how are we to respond to these truths about the Lord?
This week’s Call to Worship and Invocation came from Psalm 104. This Psalm puts God in His place.

It praises Him as the Creator of an amazing world with amazing variety. It praises Him as the One who sustains all of His creatures from the smallest to the largest, from the least intelligent to man, from the defenseless to the powerful.  It praises Him as the One who continuously rules and overrules everything according to His sovereign will.

Man works hard to grow and process wine, and oil, and grain. But it is the Lord who invested these with the ability to gladden man, and give him strength and health. Our ability to work and produce and enjoy are all great privileges, because they are ways that God has permitted us to imitate Him in the creation.

But that’s just the point: even with all of our privileges, we are creatures. He is the Creator. Let us also imitate His generosity, His tender care. Generosity and kindness are becoming to those created in the image of such a Lord as we know and worship.

Still, let us not miss that the Lord saved the first half of v35 for the final thing for which to praise the Lord: His wrath and justice. With a Lord so glorious, it is the greatest of evils to fail to praise Him, let alone even to rebel against Him! Therefore, it is one of His great glories that He does not leave this unpunished.

As we obey the command at the beginning and end of this Psalm, to bless the Lord and praise Him with our whole soul, let us recognize the One in whom all of these meet: His generosity, His love, His power, His justice, His wrath—all are best seen in the cross of Christ!
For which of the God’s attributes, do you most need to increase appreciation? How will you?
Suggested songs: ARP104C “The Trees of the LORD,” or HB26 “O Worship the King”

Monday, November 27, 2017

2017.11.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 4:14-16

Questions for Littles: Who is our great High Priest (v14)? Through what has He passed? To what, then, should we hold fast? What do we not have, according to v15? Like whom was Jesus tempted? In how many points was He tempted as we are? What is the difference between Jesus’ response to temptation and ours? To where, then, should we come (v16)? In what manner should we come to the throne? What kind of throne is it for us? What do we hope to obtain and find at the throne? When should we come to the throne of grace for mercy and grace? 
In the Scripture for the sermon this week, we are instructed to hold fast to our confession.

Confessing is literally saying the same thing together. Why is it so important to cling to theology that the church agrees upon? Because the theology is all about a Person.

Sometimes, people ask, “Why do we have to care so much about theology? Why can’t we just trust in Jesus and love Him?” But that’s just the point: who is Jesus? What does it mean to trust Him? What does it mean to love Him?

The last time we saw this word for “clinging” (“holding fast”), was in 3:6, when we were told to hold fast to the confidence and rejoicing that we have. This confidence is in “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus” (3:1).

From then up through 4:13, we heard about Jesus as the Apostle of our confession. He is the One who acts on God’s behalf toward us on the Lord’s Days, and especially in preaching, as He prepares us to enter into God’s rest. The Word is a means of grace from Him. Trusting in Jesus and loving Jesus means coming with soft hearts to the preaching every Lord’s Day.

Now, holding fast to our confession also means holding onto Jesus as our High Priest. For the next six chapters, we’ll be hearing what that means. Jesus does not only minister to us on behalf of God; He also ministers before God on behalf of us!

Where does He do that? Not in the middle of the camp, but the right hand of majesty. Not in the tent of meeting, but on the throne of glory. He has passed through the heavens! And what is His status there? Merely as a son of Adam? No! As the very Son of God, who has added humanity to Himself! Behold the glorious One who humbled Himself to become ours!

Trusting Jesus and loving Him requires the doctrines of the Trinity and the Hypostatic union. What is it to hold fast to our confession? To hold fast to Jesus Christ!
In what activities do you study theology? How much effort are you putting in? Why/why not?
Suggested Songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord,” or HB143 “At the Name of Jesus”