Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2018.09.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 4:1-20

Questions for Littles: What was Jesus doing by the sea? Why did he have to get into the boat? How did He teach them (v2)? What is the seed (v14)? Where did the first group of seed fall in v4? What happened to it? What does v15 say happens to the word in their heart immediately after they hear it? Where did the second group of seed fall in v5? What happened at first? But then what happened to it in v6? How do the stony ground people receive the Word (v16)? But what happens when trouble or persecution comes (v17)? Where did the third group of seed fall in v7? What happened to it? What does v19 say that the cares and pleasures of the world do to the Word? Where did the fourth seed fall in v8? What did it produce? What does Jesus say is required for hearing in v9? Who apparently needed to hear, since they need to ask in v10? What does Jesus say He is giving them in v11? What do the parables show that hearers cannot do on their own in v12? What three things does this group do with the Word in v20?
This week’s Invocation and Confession of sin came from Mark 4:3-20. Here, Jesus teaches us some things that surprise us at first, until we admit to ourselves the truth about our spiritual condition.

The point about parables in general is actually the same as the point of the parable of the soils: left to themselves, our hearts are not good soil!

To a believer, parables often seem so obvious! But that’s just the point, according to Jesus in v12. The simplicity of using basic, earthly illustrations for spiritual truth is to show just how hard our hearts are that we can see and hear, but not perceive or understand!

There aren’t any exceptions to this. Even the disciples didn’t understand the parable at first (v10), and Jesus implies in v13 that this is the easiest of parables. The key is in one glorious word in v11: “given.”

The disciples didn’t have it in themselves to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. It had to be given to them. For any of us to see and perceive, it has to be given to us. For any of us to hear and understand, it has to be given to us. For any of us to turn and be forgiven, it has to be given to us.

Look at all of the dangers to our hearts! Sometimes our heart is like no soil at all. The Word goes in one ear and out the other. Any distraction can make us forget immediately what we had read in devotions or heard in the sermon.

At other times, our hearts are mostly stone with some soil. We love to hear the sermon or read the Scripture devotionally, and we may even think about it a bit—but it’s never really the controlling factor of our hearts or minds, and the smallest bit of trouble makes us decide to abandon biblical thinking or living.

Then there are the times when we hear the sermon, or study the Scripture, and we agree with it and go along with it for a while. But there are other things that are just as important to us too, and eventually something comes along to turn us away. Either a care of the world comes along, and worry makes us “wiser than God”—we go in for what we think will work instead of what God says to do. Or perhaps a pleasure of the world presents itself—or was already there—and in the end, we just can’t give it up to love and serve and obey Jesus with our whole life.

What’s the solution? Just give God your whole heart! Well, it may be that simple, but that’s very different from being easy. In fact, it’s impossible. It has to be given to us. Let us watch against all those weaknesses and defects of heart, but at the end of the day we must ask God to give us good ones!
Take time right now to confess the weakness of your heart, and asking the Holy Spirit to soften it
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH173 “Almighty God, Your Word Is Cast”

Monday, September 17, 2018

2018.09.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 1:1

Questions for Littles: When does this verse start? Who is already there? What did He create? From what did He create them? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learn the terms upon which we may study and think about the origins of all things.

First, it is impossible for us to reason from the evidence of what we see in the creation backward to the process by which it was created. The word for create, here is בָּרָ֣א (bara). There are many words in Hebrew for “create”—words meaning to form, cut, build, arrange, and make from other things. But this particular “creation” word is only ever used of God. It means to create from nothing.

We are very creative, but we must use materials that exist already, and even the ideas in our minds are built upon things that we have already experienced. We just don’t have a point of reference for what it means to create from nothing. We must also remember that the creation itself was cursed for man’s sake in the Fall (Gen 3:17), and that in Genesis 8:22 God restored to the created order a continuity that had been disrupted in the flood.

We simply do not have access to either the process by which “bara” happened or the way creation was before Genesis 8:22.

Second, without any valid basis in the created things for drawing conclusions about the creation process, we are left only with eyewitness accounts. And there is only one Eyewitness, and the account that He has given us is the Scripture.

“In the beginning, God.” Full stop. He is the only One there. In fact, He does not create man until day six. Therefore, we are entirely dependent upon Him to tell us what happened.

Reading the Bible, like other acts of worship, is practice at not being God. Are we willing to submit? Are we willing to acknowledge that God alone can tell us about how creation happened? Will we be thankful that He has told us about it? Or will we, without valid reason, decide to formulate our own theories?
How would you respond to a sincere believer who tries to convince you of theistic evolution?
Suggested Songs: ARP19A “The Skies Above Declare” or TPH250 “I Sing the Almighty Power of God”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

2018.09.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 1:3-14

Questions for Littles: Of Whom is God the Father (v3)? With what spiritual blessings has He blessed us? Where? In Whom? What else did God do to/for us in Christ (v4)? When? For what end purpose/result? To what has He predestined us (v5)? By what means? According to what reason? For what further/ultimate purpose (v6)? What did He make us by that grace? What do we have through His blood (v7)? According to the riches of what? What has He made known to us (v9)? Where/in-Whom did He purpose His good pleasure? In whom did He plan to gather together all things (v10)? For when did He plan this to happen? What did we obtain in Christ (v11)? How many things does God work according to the counsel of His will? What was God’s purpose for the first believers’ trusting in Christ (v12)? What brought about the Ephesians’ faith (v13)? How were they sealed when they believed? What is the Holy Spirit to us (v14)? Until when? Unto what ultimate purpose?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned what happened at the beginning of time. God created the heavens and the earth.

But that brought up the question: Why? Why did God create the heavens and earth?

The answer, of course, goes back into eternity. God had predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.

But how could this come about? How could creatures come to be united to the God the Son, the Creator? Because God, who had chosen us to be holy and blameless before Him in love refused to allow us to perish in our sin.

This adoption in everlasting love has its own “why” purpose. To the praise of the glory of His grace (v6).

His giving us the inheritance of being like Him and with Him forever has the same purpose. That believers would be to the praise of His glory (v12).

When at last we are displayed as the blood-purchased possession of Christ, it will also be unto the same purpose. To the praise of His glory (v14).

This is the chief end of man: that the elect would glorify God by eternally enjoying Him as His own dear children!
Have you trusted in Christ? Are you living to bring glory to His grace?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

Friday, September 14, 2018

9-Sep-18 AM Sermon - Genesis 1:1 - Christ, Our Creator

2018.09.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 3:22-36

Questions for Littles: Where did Jesus and His disciples go in v22? What were they doing? Who else was baptizing (v23)? What do John’s disciples and the Jews start arguing about (v25)? What do they come and tell John in v26? What does John say is the only way a man can receive something (v27)? Whom did John say was not the Christ (v28)? How does John feel about Jesus becoming the center of attention (v29)? What does John say must happen to Jesus (v30)? To himself? From where did John say Jesus had come (v31)? Who (unless they are born again) receives Jesus’ testimony (v32)? If someone does receive His testimony, what does he certify (v33)? What words does Jesus, sent from God, speak (v34)? What has the Father given into the Son’s hand (v35)? What does the one who believes in the Son have (v36)? What will the one who does not believe in the Son not see? What abides on him instead?
In the Gospel reading this week, John the Baptizer reminds us of the truth that a man can only have what God gives him.

This was true of John’s popularity. His disciples were so worried about that popularity, but John simply wanted to serve his role. God gave him that role.

This was true of Christ’s inheritance as the Mediator. The Father loves the Son. Everything belongs to the Son already as God. But, even in His human nature, Jesus is above all, and the Father has given all things into His hand. Nations can rage, and kings and peoples can plot in vain, but it is God who wills that everything belong to Jesus Christ (cf. Ps 2).

And it’s true of us. Unless God gives us new birth, we do not receive the testimony of Christ. We must have that new birth, so that we may be able to believe and have everlasting life.

Of course, the gracious will of God is the safest place for us to have our salvation rest. If it were left to us, v32 would be the end of our story. We would simply refuse His testimony, because we are evil. God would be perfectly righteous to have His wrath abide upon us forever.

But He’s also perfectly righteous to satisfy that wrath upon a substitute—Himself. So that He can be infinitely gracious to give us everlasting life!
Have you learned to be glad that your salvation rests in God’s will, not yours?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths” or TPH351 “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2018.09.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:36-40

Questions for Littles: How might a man think he is behaving toward his unmarried daughter (v36)? What does he not do if he lets her marry her betrothed? But how does the father do (in that current situation in Corinth, cf. v26) who has determined in his heart to keep his daughter (v37)? So in that current situation, which one does better—the father who keeps his daughter, or the one who lets her marry (v38)? What may a wife do if her husband dies (v39)? What is the requirement about her remarriage? Again, in the current situation in Corinth, which is better for the woman whose husband dies (v40, cf. 26-28)? Whom does Paul have, by whom he is writing?
In this week’s Epistle reading, the apostle finishes up his answer to what some of the Corinthians had written to him about marriage being a bad thing. It most certainly is not, since marriage is the difference from God looking at the creation and saying, “not good,” unto God looking at the creation and finally saying, “very good.”

However, the apostle has highlighted for the Corinthians a couple situations in which it might be advisable to refrain from or postpone marriage. One is what he has referred to as “the present distress,” referring to a temporary situation in Corinth at the time. The other is when one wants to be free to be sacrificed for other ministry, 24 hours/day.

There are two more groups in Corinth at the time that need advice. First, he addresses fathers of daughters. If what Paul has said about the present distress, what about fathers of eligible and even betrothed daughters?

There is an important balance here. It is obvious, in v36-37, that a father has authority over whether he gives his daughter in marriage. Care over her is his privilege, and another may not take it up unless he gives it. Yet it is important to note that his concern must ultimately be for her good—and particularly that she would be married in good season and under advantageous circumstances. Like all biblical authority in the church and home, it is an authority of compassion, service, and equipping.

Second, what about those women who have come into the sad estate of having no headship. They were faithful wives, but then their husbands died. Elsewhere, the apostle encourages the to marry if they are young enough (cf. 1Tim 5:9-14). But here in 1Corinthians 7, he has been making application to their current circumstances of trial. As with a father’s decision-making, so also the apostle in v40 aims at what will be more for her happiness in the Lord.

Such is the character of our God, who has called us to joy (v40) and peace (v15).
What marriages does your behavior affect? How will you use that influence?
Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018.09.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 1:1-9

Questions for Littles: Who had just died (v1)? Whose servant was he? To whom did Yahweh speak? Whose assistant had Joshua been? What does Yahweh call Moses in v2? Where does He command Joshua to go? Whom does He command Joshua to take? What does God call the land in v2? What has God done with every place that the feet of the Israelites will step on (v3)? To whom had He told this? What were the boundaries of their territory going to be (v4)? Who would be able to stand before Joshua (in battle, v5)? Why not? What does God command Joshua in vv6, 7, 9? What does God remind Joshua in v6 to help him be strong? What does God tell Joshua to do with his strength and courage in v7? What must Joshua do if he is going to obey (v8)? What will the result of his obedience be? Again, in v9, why should Joshua be strong and courageous?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we moved to a different book, since we’ll now be hearing sermons from Genesis.

Joshua begins with a funeral of sorts. Moses, the servant of Yahweh is dead. The one who stood up to Pharaoh. The one who led them out of Egypt. The one who led them across the Red Sea. The one who interceded successfully, when God was about to destroy Israel for the golden calf.

That’s a big loss. How do they move on from something like that? Well, the best of men are still men at best. All the good that Moses did, he did by grace, because Yahweh was with him. Moses was just the servant of Yahweh. And Yahweh isn’t dead.

In fact, He’s with Joshua. And He promises to stay right there. Joshua will have the presence of Yahweh and the Word of Yahweh, wherever he goes.

Of course, the Lord doesn’t just have promises for Joshua. He also has commands for Him—the first of which is to trust those promises! Be strong and courageous! But to do what? Answer: whatever the Lord says to do.

Since true biblical strength is trust in the Lord, we find its expression not so much in gritty hardness as in solid faithfulness. Meditating on God’s Word day and night. Doing whatever the Bible says without departing to the left or to the right. So a life of confidence is demonstrated by obedience—because if the Lord is making everything work for good, then we don’t have to!
What habits do you have in place for always meditating upon God’s Word?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1B “How Blest the Man”

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018.09.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 11:33-12:13

Questions for Littles: Whose wisdom is deeply rich (v33)? Whose knowledge is deeply rich? Whose judgments are unsearchable? Whose ways are past finding out? What has no one known (v34)? What has no one become? What has no one done first (v35) so that the Lord has never “repaid” anyone? Of whom are all things (v36)? Through whom are all things? To whom are all things? What is to be given unto God forever? What are we to do by the mercies of God (12:1)? What are we to present to Him? As what kind of sacrifice? What kind of service is this? To what are we not to be conformed (v2)? By what are we to be transformed? When we live this way, what do we prove about God’s will? Through what does Paul speak in v3? What does he tell us not to do? How does he tell us to think? What has God dealt to each of us a measure of? What do we, as many members, form all together (v4-5)? Of whom are we members (end of v5)? What gifts are listed in v6-13? For each one, consider whether it is a gift that only some believers have, or whether it is a gift that all believers have (parents will have to do and explain this for you).
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Romans 11:33-12:13.

In this passage, we go from purpose to particulars.

We go from overflowing expressions of worship (11:33-36) to an entire life of worship (12:1). Every day, we are to be offering our bodies unto God as living sacrifices.

We go from hearing about God’s deep wisdom and knowledge, and unsearchable judgments and ways, to living according to God’s Word, and making our lives a testimony to how perfect His will is (12:2).

We go from the reminder that everything is from God and for God (11:36, 12:3) to living that way (12:4-13). This is the ultimate meaning of spiritual “gifts”—not that we each have one or two or more special things that are gifts—but that these things and everything else about us are gifts from God for the rest of the church.

We see in the list that some of the “gifts” are unique to some believers. But others are things that all believers are commanded to do. The point is this: rather than think highly of ourselves, let us realize that we are a gift from God to our brethren, and let us be sure not to withhold anything!
Whom do you serve in the church? Whom could you serve more? How?
Suggested songs: ARP8 “Lord, Our Lord” or TPH405 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”

Monday, September 10, 2018

2018.09.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:13-22

Questions for Littles: From what has God conveyed us (v13)? Into whose kingdom has God conveyed us? What do we have in Him (v14)? Through what? What is this redemption? Of what is Jesus the image (v15)? Over what is He the firstborn? What was created by Him (v16)? Where? Especially which ones? What is Jesus before (v17)? What do all things do “in Him”? Over what is He the head (v18)? Who is the beginning? From among whom is He the Firstborn? Why? In whom did it please God to make all of His fullness dwell (v19)? What did God decide to reconcile to Himself in Christ (v20)? Through what did Jesus make peace? How were we alienated and enemies (v21)? What has happened to us now? In what condition does He plan to present us (v22)? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we were introduced to the whole of Scripture by the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then, in Colossians 1, we read that all things were created by Christ. All things were created through Christ. All things were created for Christ.

The One who has qualified us for our inheritance is Himself the heir over all creation—the firstborn over all creation. The One who shed His blood to redeem us—who shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins—is the One who created us, who created blood, and against Whom we had sinned.

The marvelous thing is that God chose to give His Son the first place over all things precisely by making peace for us through the blood of His cross.

We were God’s enemies—committing wicked works. Man brought the entire creation under curse. And God’s response? To reconcile all things to Himself through the blood of Christ’s cross—all believers from all ages, and even the very earth that had been cursed because of us.

Taking all of these things together, in this passage, we learn something extraordinary. Salvation is not some plan B because things had gone unexpectedly.

Creating us, knowing what we would choose and do, was plan A. Because saving us at the cost of Himself was plan A. He put His glory on display in the creation—in part, to die for our despising of it… because the ultimate display of His glory was to come as our Redeemer!
Have you given yourself up to the Creator who died to redeem sinners?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH431 “And Can It Be”

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2018.09.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 20:25-32

Questions for Littles: What will the Ephesian elders never see again (v25)? Of what does Paul say he is innocent (v26)? Why—what has he not shunned to declare to them (v27)? To whom must the elders take heed to first (v28)? To whom else must they take heed? Who has made the elders overseers? What are the overseers to do the church? Whose church is it? How did He get it? What danger does v29 warn against? What danger does v30 warn against? What is the example for how watchful the elders are supposed to be, and how watchful was he (v31)? To what is Paul commending/entrusting them, with all of these instructions (v32)? What is it able to do?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned God’s plan for getting us all the way home.

At the end of the passage, the apostle says that he commends them to God and to the word of His grace. If we have been paying attention in Scripture, everywhere we see this truth: God alone can save, which salvation therefore must be only by grace; and, He has determined to do so by means of His Word.

Furthermore, this Scripture gives us even more details about the manner in which God works in us by His Word. God the Son has purchased the church by His own blood. Now, God the Holy Spirit has made some redeemed sinners into overseers, so that they might shepherd that church.

What do these overseer-shepherds need to do? Declare to the flock the whole counsel of God.

But it’s not exactly that simple. There are savage wolves that come in among the flock and devour them. The shepherds must go around amongst the flock, checking to see that Christ’s blood-bought ones are fed properly and protected properly.

Also, there are elders who will say things that stray from the Scriptures, and draw people after themselves instead of after the Savior. So, it is a necessary part of the care of the flock for elders to maintain their own souls, and to study, and to keep one another accountable.

This is, ultimately, what it means to entrust oneself to God and the Word of His grace: to be a truly biblical Presbyterian.
How have you enlisted the elders’ help to avoid spiritual/theological danger?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd”

Friday, September 7, 2018

2018.09.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:23-3:21

Questions for Littles: Whom did many at the feast believe in (v23)? But what didn’t Jesus do (v24)? Why—what did He know? What Pharisee came to see him (v1)? At what time of day (v2)? How does Jesus answer Nicodemus’s opening compliment (v3)? What question does Nicodemus ask in v4? By what does Jesus say we must be born in v5-6? Where does the wind blow, and in whom therefore does the Spirit work (v8)? What does Nicodemus ask in v9? By what is Jesus amazed in vv10-12? Where was the Son of Man, and where did He go (v13)? What must happen to the Son of Man, and how can someone have eternal life (v15-16)? Why did God send His Son into the world (v17)? Why is the one who does not believe condemned already (v18)? Why do men love darkness rather than light (v19-20)? When someone who does the truth comes to the light, what can be seen about his deeds (v21)?
In the Gospel reading this week, we hear about a most important subject concerning our happiness: how a man can avoid being destroyed, but instead have eternal life with Jesus Christ.

The problem is actually originally found in the people at the feast: we are rotten from the inside out. This was why Jesus did not entrust Himself to them: He knew what was in man. The people believed in Him; Nicodemus acknowledges Him to be a good teacher from God, but none of them are saved, yet. Why not?

Because only the Holy Spirit can save, and He cannot be manipulated any more than we can change which way the wind will blow. He will work in whomever He will. Of course, Nicodemus knew that Jesus meant spiritual rebirth—but that’s offense to think about. Is there really nothing salvageable in me? Nothing good at all? Must I be completely remade? Don’t I just need a touch-up here and there?

Until the Spirit convicts us, we avoid having the light of God’s truth shine on us, because we enjoy the false narrative that our deeds aren’t so bad. Everyone practicing evil hates the light. The idea that we need an entirely new spiritual life to be saved was as ridiculous to the honored Pharisee as the idea of climbing back into his mother to be reborn.

But that is the case: there is nothing good in us at all. That is why salvation is only by trusting in the crucified Christ. That is why the only good works are only those works that have been done in God, after one has come to faith in Christ.

The great news in this passage is not so much that one must be born again as it is that the Holy Spirit does in fact give this new birth! Have you had this birth? Is Christ all your hope? Are your good deeds only done by His life in you?
Why did you need to be completely remade by God the Holy Spirit? Have you?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH391 “Come, Thou Quick’ning Spirit”

Thursday, September 6, 2018

2018.09.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:17-35

Questions for Littles: Who has distributed to each of us our situation (v17)? What is one thing that we do not need to change (v18)? What is it that actually matters (v19)? How should we consider our current circumstances (v20)? What is another thing that we do not need to change (v21)? What two, opposite things are we at the very same time, in Christ (v22)? But what, especially, should we NOT become (v23)? About what does the apostle not have a direct quote from Jesus (v25)? Because of what, at that time, was it good for a man to remain single (v26)? But what should married men, still at that time, not have sought (v27)? During such times, what would marrying bring (v28)? What kinds of things are not as important as serving the Lord as well as possible in the present form of this world (v29-31)? And, yet, what must a married man place as his top priority in the Lord’s service (v32-33)? What must a married woman place as her top priority in the Lord’s service (v34)? Again, what is the main point of the apostle’s instructions in this section (v35)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we receive a pretty big corrective to one of the lies that we tell ourselves: “If only I change [this] or [that] thing in my circumstances, then I’ll really be set up to serve the Lord properly.”

The problem with that kind of thinking is that it secretly blames God for our current poor service, because our circumstances themselves are a calling from God in which to serve. Circumcision, uncircumcision, slave, free—callings from God. That is to say: our cultural and place in society is a calling from God, and our economic status is a calling from God.

Now, we shouldn’t seek to place ourselves under any more obligation than necessary to others, lest we intentionally limit ourselves from certain avenues of service to the Lord (v23). But our intentionally doing something is quite different from God having providentially done it (v24)!

Still, there is wisdom to be exercised in each particular circumstance. According to v26, the Corinthians were going through some significant distress—one in which it would not be wise to try to start a family.

And there is wisdom to be exercised in every circumstance on this side of glory—recognizing that this life is our last chance to serve the Lord before the eternal age arrives. Therefore, let us see every temporary thing (yes, even marriage, cf. Mat 22:30!) not as an end in itself, but as an occasion in which we are to serve the Lord—marriage, grief, and possessions are all occasions for serving the eternal God in a temporary world (v29-31)!

Therefore, the reasoning of the rest of the chapter is that there are certain avenues of service that are open to the unmarried, but in which the married would be very limited. The husband’s first place of service is his wife, and the wife’s first place of service is her husband (v33-34).
What are your circumstances? What would it mean for you to serve the Lord in them? What distractions have you added that are getting in the way of more service?
Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear” or TPH538 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2018.09.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:31-30:24

Questions for Littles: Who opened Leah’s womb (v31)? Why? What does Leah call her first son (v32)? Why? What does she call her second son (v33)? Why? What does she call her third son (v34)? Why? What does she call her fourth son (v35)? Why? What is different about this fourth name? Whom does Rachel blame for her having no children (30:1)? Whom does Jacob point out is actually in charge of whether she bears children (v2)? What plan does Rachel come up with in v3? Where have we seen this before? Who goes along with it (v4)? What is the result in v5? What does Rachel claim about this son in v6? What does she name the son? What does she name the second son (v8)? Why? Now who is coming up with the same sinful plan (v9)? What does she name the son in v11? Why? What does she name the son in v13? Why? What had Rachel apparently been able to prevent Leah from doing (v15)? How did Leah get her to relent? Who obediently went along with the arrangement in v16? Why/how did Leah conceive (v17)? What does she name this son (v18)? Why? What does she name her sixth son (v20)? Why? What is different about her next child (v21)? Who acts in v22? What does she say in v23? What name does she give the son in v24? Why—what did she say?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find something of an arms race. Sons were very valuable for their labor/productivity/earning, for their military worth, and especially for carrying on the family line—especially when the salvation of the world depends upon that family line!

Here we are in the third generation of the Abrahamic covenant, and we’ve just had one son that remained in the covenant, and then again one son that remained in the covenant, and now BOOM—in just a handful of verses (and wives?!?!!) 11 covenant sons (with one more to come).

The whole thing is deeply sad, starting with an unloved wife, and the handmaid method of increased fertility, and the passive husband who just does whatever his wives say—right down to allowing Rachel to control the bedroom rotation roster. We feel badly for Leah on the names of the first three, and maybe a little bit proud of her for Judah. But names like Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Issachar just seem so out of line! In fact, the passage as a whole is almost enough to make us sick.

But the astonishing thing is that despite the wickedness of man than fills the passage up, there is a thread of God’s grace running all the way through it. He is noticing who is unloved. He is answering Leah’s prayers, and then Rachel’s.

How can the holy, holy, holy God do so for such sinners as we see them to be here? The answer is in the purpose of multiplying these sons to begin with: to form the nation into which God’s own Son can be born as the Son of Man. God can be merciful to sinners, because He is so lovingly determined to be merciful that He Himself is preparing to enter into the world to bear their sin!

Dear believer, this is exactly what He has done for us! If we could honestly see our sin as it really is, we would find it as ugly and sick as the arms race in the passage. Shall we not then also see the wonderful grace of God that is the great thread that runs through our life?
What are some good things God has done for you lately? Why would/did He?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2018.09.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 35

Questions for Littles: What will happen to the wilderness, wasteland, and desert for God’s people (v1-2)? What ultimate glory and excellency will they see (v2)? What should His people do while they wait (v3-4)? Who will come with a vengeance? What will He do to His people? How does He describe this salvation in terms of their eyes (v5)? Their ears? Their ability to walk (v6)? Their tongue? Into this picture of new life from v7, what do we see appear in v8? What is the highway called? Who cannot pass over it? What will not be there (v9)? But who will walk there? What will the ransomed be doing as they return to Zion (v10)?  What will be on their heads? What will they obtain? What will flee away?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Isaiah 35.

This chapter uses colorful imagery to describe the salvation that Jesus Christ brings to His people.

Surely, without Him, it feels like we are in a wilderness, a wasteland, a desert of parched ground. But once His salvation is completed in and for us, we shall find that He has made our experience one of eternal, lush, vibrant life.

Surely, without His Spirit, we are blind, deaf, lame, and mute. Is this not the great reason for Jesus performing miracles on such physically afflicted people during His earthly ministry? He was declaring Himself to be the Savior-Redeemer-God of Isaiah 35. Therefore, He points to these exact things, when John the Baptizer’s disciples come and ask if He is the Christ. Only Christ adds, “and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

Look at the reward that He has in store for us—to be perfectly safe forever, to view the glory and excellency of our God, to have only singing and joy and never sighing or sorrow!

Therefore, we heed the instruction in vv3-4. Trusting in Him, and knowing that He will finish His work, we strengthen the weak hands and straighten the wobbly knees, and determine to be strong and not fear.

Our God will surely save us, and bring us into everlasting life and joy!!
In what current situation do you need to remember that Jesus is saving you?
Suggested songs: ARP16A “Keep Me, O God” or TPH170 “God in the Gospel of His Son”

Monday, September 3, 2018

2018.09.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 20:16-24

Questions for Littles: Where couldn’t Paul visit, since he was in a hurry (v16-17)? What did he ask for their elders to do instead? What was the first thing that Paul reminded them about in v18? How had he served the Lord (v19)? How had many tears and trials happened to him? What did he keep back from them (v20)? What had he done instead? In what two settings did he teach them? To which groups of church members did he conduct such a ministry (v21)? What were the two primary things that he preached? Where is he going now (v22)? What has the Holy Spirit said awaits him there (v23)? What does he care about more than what happens to himself (v24)? What two things does he want to finish? With what attitude? And what is the ministry that he received, and from whom?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, Paul establish the top priority for the Ephesian church going forward: preaching and teaching ministry in public and from house to house.

How high a priority is this? Paul is in a great hurry to get to Jerusalem—such a hurry that he can’t spare the time to go into Ephesus. Instead, he sends word ahead, and the Ephesian elders come meet him on the coast. As the elders are on their way to Miletus, they (and we) are primed to expect something very important indeed.

This is only heightened, with Paul’s introduction about how they knew his devotion to the ministry, despite the many hardships that he faced. What was so important that he had them come out to them now? What was so important that he had been willing to suffer so many tears and trials.

The ministry of the Word. In public. And from house to house.

Notice the way he puts it: he had kept back nothing that was helpful. What is it that God uses to help us? The proclamation of the Word. This is what we need more than anything else. Preaching and teaching the Word must be our elders’ priority, and hearing and heeding that preaching and teaching must be our congregation’s priority.

Two more things to note, briefly, about this preaching ministry (1) its location: in public and from house to house; (2) its content: repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ.

In public+households is a simple recipe, but sadly not always followed. In fact, rather few churches in our time have this from-house-to-house pastoral ministry of the elders. One would think that the biblical term “shepherd” would be clear enough in implying that the elders need to be spending time out among and directing the sheep. Even so, here we have clear teaching that this ought to be so. Let us make this a priority for the kind of ministry that we seek from them!

Finally, repentance and faith both need to be preached. The whole of Scripture needs to be preached. The law needs to be preached—not just to unbelievers but to believers who need to know how to go about living unto God. But a ministry that only preaches this will lead people either into pride or despair over how they think they are doing.

The gospel, faith toward Jesus Christ, must also be preached: not only is He the only righteous standing we can ever have before God, but His life is also the only spiritual life that we can ever have for living unto our God who has saved us. Similarly, if this is the only thing that is preached, then we leave out much of Scripture. Paul reminded the Ephesian elders that he had proclaimed both, that they must proclaim both, and so must we have both proclaimed.
Where do your elders pastor you? How are you responding to each type of preaching (repentance and faith)?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH175 “Your Law, O God, Is Our Delight”

Saturday, September 1, 2018

2018.09.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 16:18-28

Questions for Littles: What name does Jesus give Simon (v18)? What does Jesus say He will build upon the rock of Peter’s confession? What won’t prevail against the church? What will Jesus give to Peter (v19)? What will have been bound in heaven? What will have been loosed in heaven? What were the disciples not supposed to tell yet (v20)? What did Jesus begin to show the disciples about Himself in v21? How did Peter respond (v22)? Now what does Jesus call Peter in v23? Of what is Peter not being mindful? Of what is he being mindful instead? What does Jesus say we must take up in order to follow Him (v24)? What will happen to the one who desires to save his life (v25)? What will happen to the one who gives his whole life up to Christ? Suppose that, by living for yourself, you could gain the whole world—what does v26 say about whether or not that’s worth it? According to what will we be rewarded on the last day (v27)? What did Jesus say some of those standing there would see before they tasted death (v28)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned what Moses and Elijah already knew, and what Peter, James, and John would find out—that the eternal glory of Christ, and the privilege of knowing and enjoying Him in that glory… that these things are worth infinitely more than anything and everything that this world has to offer us.

We easily forget this. Peter takes four verses to go from being commended as the one whose confession of Christ is exactly the foundation upon which Christ will build His church to the one whose counsel to Christ comes from the very pit of Hell.

Let that get through our thick skulls and cold hearts: the temptation to live for comfort comes from the pit of Hell.

Just as Jesus insisted that He would go to the cross to pay for our sins, so also He insists that in order to follow Him, we would take up the cross of our own. We must do works that correspond to reward for which we hope.

That is to say: the days of living for myself are done, and from here on, I will live only for Christ. That old way is crucified. Now, I live only by faith. Jesus’s way by Jesus’s life. Who cares what I might miss out on in this life? I shall have, instead, not only the wellbeing of my eternal soul, but its immeasurable pleasure in His unimaginable glory!
In what part of your life is obedience to Jesus most uncomfortable?
Suggested Songs: ARP32B “Instruction I Will Give to You” or TPH541 “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

2018.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:13-22

Questions for Littles: What was at hand (v13)? Where did Jesus go? What did He find in the temple (v14)? What did Jesus make (v15)? What did He do with that whip? What did He say to those who sold doves (v16)? What did the disciples remember from Psalm 69 (v17)? What did the Jews demand from Him in v18? What sign does Jesus say that He will give (v19)? Why do the Jews think this is crazy—how long had it taken to build the temple (v20)? But of what temple was Jesus speaking (v21)? When Jesus had risen from the dead, and the disciples remembered what He said here, what two things did they come to believe (v22)? 
In the Gospel reading this week, we were reminded that Jesus’s resurrection means that have to obey every word that He says.

Jesus was certainly acting like a prophet. The response of the Jews in v18 is quite interesting. They don’t seem to dispute at all whether Jesus was right about what He said. Rather, they want to know what’s special about Him—what gives Him the right to say it? If He’s really a prophet, they insist that He perform signs like the prophets did.

It’s at this point that Jesus begins referring to His resurrection. No one understood Him at the time. Later, His disciples would come to understand that He meant His body. Paul tells us in Romans 1, that it was by His resurrection that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power!

Indeed, once He had risen from the dead, the disciples believed that the promised Savior and salvation of Psalm 69 had come. He had demonstrated Himself to be the long-hoped-for Forever-King.

That has implications for your life, doesn’t it? Jesus rising from the dead gives Him the right to confront us from His Word at all times and all places.

Often, when His Word exposes some wickedness in our lives, as He had done at the temple, we respond like they did: what gives You the right to say that? His resurrection is the great sing of His right to say it!

Jesus is the long-awaited Christ. The forever-King from the line of David. The prophet greater than Moses. And our lives must be a continual obedience and service unto Him!
What should we remember, whenever we are tempted to resist Christ’s Word?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Your Ear” or TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”

2018.08.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:10-16

Questions for Littles: To whom is Paul talking in v10? Whom does he claim to be quoting? What does he say that a wife must not do? What are her only options if she makes a separation like this (v11)? What may a husband not do? Whom does Paul now say he is not quoting in v12? What does he say a Christian husband should do, if his unbelieving wife is willing to live with him (v13)? What does he say a Christian wife should do, if her unbelieving husband is willing to live with her (v13)? What people are made holy (sanctified) by a believing wife, even if they themselves are unbelieving (v14)? Whom should they permit to depart (v15)? To what has God called us? What possibility, in God’s providence and mercy, is an encouragement to stay together (v16)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we received more instruction about Christian marriage.

It is important to note that this is all equally Scripturally authoritative. Paul says in v40 that he is giving this counsel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The difference between quoting Jesus and not quoting Jesus is that, when he is quoting Christ, he is basically telling them things that they should already have known.

Here, the apostle addresses the married—in part, because of that very bad advice which some of them had written, that it is not good for a man to touch a woman. But marriage is a good gift from God for many purposes.

One of these purposes of healthy, faithful marriages is for the producing of godly descendants (cf. Malachi 2:13-16). Now, 1Corinthians 7:14 teaches us that God counts the children as holy if even one of the parents is a believer (who, of course then, should receive the covenant sign and seal) —and that He even treats the unbelieving spouse according to the covenant. In fact, v16 (cf. 1Pet 3:1) even implies the Lord’s inclination to bring such a spouse to faith in Christ!

All of this is why, if a spouse is willing to live with a believer despite their faith, that believer is to stay in the marriage. Yet, if the unbeliever is not willing, the believer is neither to be pushy toward the spouse nor anxious in himself/herself. We are called to peace. What a blessed truth: we are called to peace.
How are you preparing for or protecting your own marriage? Others’ marriages?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018.08.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:15-30

Questions for Littles: Who asked Jacob what his wages should be (v15)? What did Laban have (v16)? What were their names? What did Jacob notice about Leah’s appearance (v17)? What did he notice about Rachel’s? What did Jacob say, in v18, that he would like to receive for his wages? How long did he offer to work for her? What did Laban say about giving her to Jacob in v19? How long did Jacob serve for Rachel (v20)? How long did it seem to him? Why? For whom did Jacob ask in v21? What did Laban make in v22? Whom did he bring to Jacob in v23? What does Jacob discover in v25? What does he ask? What does Laban give as a reason in v26? Who proposes that Jacob would have a second wife in v27? What does he call Rachel? How much of a honeymoon does Leah get before her husband takes another wife (v28)? What did Laban give to each of his daughters (v24, 29)? Whom did Jacob love more (v30)? How many more years did Jacob now serve? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we continue learning about Jesus’s family.

It’s rather an ugly story. If it were a film, we mightn’t allow our children to watch it.

  • A daughter is basically being sold as wages. 
  • The covenant patriarch is sizing the two daughters up by their appearance. 
  • The father of the girls intentionally gives the wrong daughter on the wedding night. 
  • As far as we can tell, there’s no covenanting ceremony before the man and woman sleep together. 
  • The unwanted daughter goes along with her father’s plan. 
  • The excuse given is something that the man literally had seven years to tell him, but somehow had never mentioned it? 
  • Rather than receive his wife as God’s providence, or perhaps ok though not as good, ask for an annulment because of the deception, Jacob goes along with the plan for him two have two wives. 
  • Going against God’s design for one man and one woman for marriage immediately causes them to suffer the consequences, as one of the wives is loved less (v30, in fact, should probably read “instead of Leah” rather than “more than”).

What are we to make of all of this? Well, at least two things. The first is that the only true hero of the history of redemption is Jesus Christ. The second is how badly Christ was needed. At every step, these people felt like they had good reason for what they were doing. But this whole account is dripping with sin and folly. Come, Lord Jesus, and save Your people!
Why shouldn’t you want others to see you as a spiritual hero? Who should be?
Suggested songs: ARP45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018.08.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 149

Questions for Littles: Whom shall we praise (v1)? What shall we sing? Where? In whom is Israel to rejoice (v2)? In whom must the children of Zion be joyful? What aspects of the worship led by Levitical priests are named in v3? In whom does the Lord take pleasure (v4)? With what does He beautify the humble (v4)? In what should saints be joyful (v5)? What should they do on their beds? What should be in their mouths (v6)? And what should be in their hands? For what purpose (v7-9a)? Which of the Lord’s saints have this honor?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Psalm 149. This is a Psalm about corporate worship—the praise of the Lord in the assembly of the saints. Yes, it’s a praise that continues to resound in their hearts and mouths even when they are at home on their beds (v5). But it is something that distinctly belongs to the assembly (v1), as evidenced by the reference to the specific Levite-led activities of v3.

We, of course, are no longer led by Levites in a temple on earth, but we ourselves are the temple, and we are led by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

Therefore, the joy of the song is not diminished, but rather increased—as the saints are joyful in glory. In particular, we now know how it is that Yahweh Himself takes pleasure in us (v4!!). It is because we come to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.

But not only do we have the privilege of a great reception on High, week by week in this life. We also have the privilege of a great power on earth.

Which of the Lord’s saints wield this great sword to which v6-9 refer? All His saints. v9 says, “This honor have all His saints”!!

Now, we know that not all His saints carry physical swords by which they subjugate rulers. But, just as our worship must come from God and not be merely the worship of men, so also our weapons are the weapons of God.

As we believe the Scripture together, and confess it in worship, and admonish one another with it, and teach it to our children, we are participating in the subjugation of all the nations, which shall surely be accomplished by God’s mighty Word. Hallelujah!
In what part of worship are you participating in the overthrow of kings?
Suggested songs: ARP149B “O Praise the Lord, O Sing Aloud” or TPH166 “You Who His Temple Throng”

Monday, August 27, 2018

2018.08.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 7:13-23

Questions for Littles: By what gate should we enter (v13)? Where do the wide gate and broad way lead? How many go in by it? Where do the narrow gate and difficult way lead (v14)? How many find it? Of whom must we beware (v15)? What do they look like? Wat are they inwardly? How can we know them (v16-20)? What, specifically, are not the fruits to look for (v22)? What are the fruits to look for (v21, 23)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we received a very serious warning. This was not just a pep-talk to say, “Go team! Let’s live a life of service!” No, this was a Messianic rescue mission.
What is before us in this passage is destruction and life, hell and heaven.

Why is it that we love to be popular? God help us! The wide gate and broad way lead to destruction. It is not that we should desire to be unpopular, either. But surely, if we find that many are signing up to go along with us, this passage should be cause for alarm.

Now, it’s not difficult to check whether we have entered by the correct gate: for that gate is nothing other than Christ alone. No work of ours. No doctrine of ours. Nothing in our hands we bring. Simply to Him we cling. Any other gate—any attempt to add to this gate—is an entrance to the way to Hell. That’s intolerant. Truth often is.

Yet, woe is us that we wish to be comfortable! We hate pain and love pleasure; we want to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. There is hardly a worse sounding thing to our ears than “that isn’t fun.” Here again, are words that should terrify us. The spacious, agreeable, pleasant way leads to destruction. If we have made it our aim to have comfort and fun—and, even worse, if we have succeeded—then we can be almost certain that we haven’t entered by the narrow gate.

Those who enter by the knowledge of Christ slaughter their self-will and live by the law of Christ. We may say “Lord, Lord” and “in Your name” until we are blue in the face, but unless we have learned to die to self and live to Christ, we can expect to hear “I never knew You” on the last day.
In what part of your life are you most in danger of choosing comfort over Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP119B “How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH266 “Thou Art the Way”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

2018.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 15:10-20

Questions for Littles: Who called the people to Himself in v10? What did He want them to do? What does not defile a man (v11)? What does defile a man? Who warned Jesus that the Pharisees were offended (v12)? What does Jesus say is the reason for the uprooting of some plants (people, v13)? What does Jesus tell the disciples to do with them in v14? What does He say will happen to those whom the Pharisees lead? Who asks Jesus for an explanation (v15)? What does Jesus say happens to our food, eventually (v17)? But where do our words come from (v18)? How long does that last? Apart from Christ, what kinds of things come out of our hearts (v19)? When that is what is coming out of our hearts, what does it do to us (v18,20)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we see one more of the changes that Jesus was making from the manmade religion of the Pharisees. Earlier in the chapter, we had seen that true religion is only that which has been invented by the Lord’s Word. Now, we see that true religion can only occur by the Lord’s power.

When Jesus rejects the tradition of the Pharisees outright in v11, they are offended. That’s not surprising. Have you ever told someone that something religiously important to them was invalid because it’s not part of the true religion in Scripture? Or maybe you’ve been told yourself.

It takes special humility to accept this, and to repent of and ruthlessly expunge everything from our religion that comes from ourselves. In fact, the required humility is so very special that Jesus says that it cannot come from man but only by the will and power of God (v13).

Lord, take away my blindness, because I cannot take it away from myself! Lord, give me faith, because I cannot give it to myself!

And that is actually the point of Jesus’s explanation in vv17-20. We can’t just wash our outsides in order to be clean before God. Why not? Because we’re rotten to the core of our hearts. The actual sins that proceed from us are literally just the tips of the spiritual icebergs in our hearts.

The only we can ever be clean before God is by receiving a spiritual heart transplant! Anything other than this Reformed doctrine of conversion is false religion, and the pit into which it causes people to stumble is horrifically deeper than the grave!
From where has your sin come? What can be done about it? Who can do this?
Suggested Songs: ARP51A-B “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Friday, August 24, 2018

2018.08.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:1-12

Questions for Littles: Where do Jesus and His disciples go (v1-2)? What happens at the wedding (v3)? Whom does Mary tell about it? Why does Jesus say that this has nothing to do with Him (v4)? But what does His mother say, anyway, and to whom (v5)? How many waterpots were there (v6)? How much did each hold? How full did they fill them (v7)? What did the master of the feast think of the wine (v10)? What did he imply the guests had already done before this good wine came out? What did John call this miracle (v11)? What did it show/manifest? How did the disciples respond? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus does the first of the signs through which the apostle earlier told us that they beheld His glory.

Of course, the more impressive part of the sign is actually the less important. The evangelist had told us that Jesus glory was “as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Now, making 150 gallons of good wine after everyone has already drunk freely might have been amazing and even generous. It certainly saved the young couple and their family from embarrassment. But, the Holy Spirit constructs His account in such a way as to point us to something else about the Lord Jesus’s character here: submissiveness to His mother.

There are two possibilities: either it is time for Jesus to separate Himself and begin His public ministry, or He is still a part of Mary’s household and in submission to her. It is doubtful that Christ performed other miracles before this. Theologically, His miracles were signs. And yet Mary, having treasured up in her heart so much about Jesus, and knowing His perfection in honoring her, is quite certain that He is both willing and able to do something.

Christ’s first miracle, then, is instigated not by some theological discerning of the time, but by our Lord’s perfect obedience to the fifth commandment. This is the main point of vv4-5 and v11-12. Once this first sign has been performed, the ministry now begins in earnest.

What a significant place, in the history of redemption, God has given to the honoring of our parents! Even on the cross, as Jesus appoints this very evangelist to care for Mary, He is still presenting prominently the goodness of the duty to honor our parents!

So, also, the Lord honors marriage in general and weddings in specific by making one to be the occasion of His first public miracle. Ultimately, however, this is not a passage about honoring parents and honoring marriage as much as it is a passage about believing in Christ. What did the first disciples do, when they saw Jesus perform this sign?

They believe in Him—and so must we!
Why is Christ’s perfect honoring of His parents and honoring of marriage important? How do you continue to honor your parents? How do you honor marriage?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH128B “Blest the Man That Fears Jehovah”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018.08.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:1-9

Questions for Littles: Who had written that it was good for a man not to touch a woman (v1)? What happens when each man doesn’t have his own wife, or each woman doesn’t have her own husband (v2)? What do husbands and wives need to show one another (v3)? Who has authority over a wife’s body (v4)? Who has authority over a husband’s body? What does v5 command them not to do? For what purpose can they take a break? For how long? Why must they come back together quickly? To what (end of v5) was Paul offering a concession (v6)? Like whom did he wish they were instead (v7)? Now to whom is he talking in v8? Like whom does he say it is good for the to remain? But what should they do if they cannot exercise self-control (v9)? Because of what does he give this particular instruction (cf. v26)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learned that at least some of the Corinthians had come up with their own solution to the problem of sexual immorality: perpetual celibacy. It’s not a new plan. Roman Catholics—and other cults—have long taught the idea that there is a level of super-Christian who decide never to get married at all.

Now, the Corinthians were in a temporary situation of distress (v26) that it made it best to stay single if possible without sin (v8-9). But, not everyone is given the gift of unusual self-control (v7). So, even in the Corinthian situation, marriage was the best option for most.

Man’s ideas are no substitute for the Word of God or the Spirit of God. When God calls something good, like marriage, we cannot compensate for our sinfulness by calling that thing bad and just trying to stay away from it.

Obviously, from this passage, singleness is not a cursed state. However, it is plain from this and many other passages that marriage is a blessed state.

And it is crystal clear from this passage that husbands and wives are to be affectionate to one another. This is God’s good design for marriage, and to depart from it is not only to deprive ourselves of God’s good gift, but to leave ourselves defenseless before our own sin and folly.

Let us learn what folly comes from adding rules to God’s rules, as if that could actually do something about our sin.
What are you doing to support and guard your and others’ marriages?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

2018.08.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:1-14

Questions for Littles: To what land does Jacob come (v1)? What does he find there (v2)? What were lying by it? What was on the well’s mouth? At what point would they roll the stone away (v3, 8)? Who was coming (v6, 9)? What did Jacob do by himself in v10? What did Jacob tell Rachel in v12? Where did she go? Whom did she tell? Where did Laban go in v13? Who told Laban the same things that Rachel had just told him (v13)? What did Laban say in v14? Where else have we heard this particular phrasing (cf. 2:23)? How long did Jacob stay with him at this point? What had Jacob’s mission been (cf. 28:1-2)? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have what is getting to be a familiar romantic theme. Boy meets foreign girl at well. Boy goes home to girl’s family. Boy marries girl and takes her to a different country.

There are two stories that depend upon the outcome. The smaller one is the story of Jacob getting a wife. Of course, he really didn’t need one so long as he was Rebekah’s mama’s boy. But then came the whole Esau mortal-revenge problem, and finding an appropriate wife became a handy excuse.

Now, Jacob the deceiver, son of Rebekah the schemer, is getting himself entangled with an entire family of people of similar character. That doesn’t bode very well. We do, incidentally, find out something moderately impressive about him: when push comes to shove, he’s able to lift a stone with the strength of many men in order to get a private audience with a gal.

The bigger story, of course, is the one of how the Lord is defeating the serpent by bringing a Son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob into the world. As we are becoming familiar with noticing, His method in the history of redemption is to use messed up sinners to bring the Redeemer into the world.

Laban, for selfish reasons, announces that Jacob is his bone and his flesh. That sacred statement with which we were introduced to the holy, creation ordinance of marriage, is twisted into an instrument by which Laban hopes to profit as much as possible from his connection to Jacob.

But there is another sharing of bone and flesh that will come through this. The Word will become flesh and dwell among us. God the Son will take to Himself a bride, and just as He has taken on her flesh and bone in the incarnation, so also He will give her new, eternal life, of both soul and body. Little could Laban have known what glorious grace toward which his words were pointing!

In your daily life, dear Christian, the Lord is not bringing Himself into this world to accomplish salvation, but He is indeed working that salvation out. As He applies His redemption, one day at a time, He is working through lives like Jacob’s and like ours—messed up sinners as we are—so that all would be to the praise only of His glorious grace!
With what greater story is this week’s story of your own life intertwined?
Suggested songs: ARP23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2018.08.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 58

Questions for Littles: Questions for Littles: What does v1 say Isaiah is to be telling God’s people and the house of Jacob? Whom does v2 say that they seek daily? What does v2 say that they delight to know? What does v2 say that they ask of God? Whom does v2 say that they take delight in approaching? What questions do the people ask in v3? What does v4 say are the reasons that they were fasting? What were they trying to make happen? What does v5 say that they did to their souls when they fasted? What did they do to their heads? What does v6 say that God wants their fasts to be like? What does v7 say they should do as a result of their fasts? To whom should they bring their bread? Whom should they bring into their house? What should they do for the naked? If their fasts are like this, what does v8 say will break forth like the morning? What will spring forth speedily? What will go before them? What will be their rear guard? Upon whom does v9 say they will call? What will He do? To whom will they cry? What will the Lord say when they cry? What does v9 say are three things that people who trust in and worship God will take away? To whom does v10 say they will extend their souls? Whom will they satisfy? What does v10 say will then come into the darkness? And what will their darkness be like? Whom does v11 say will guide them continually? Who will satisfy their souls as in drought? Who will strengthen their bones? What does v11 say they will be like? What does v12 say they will rebuild? What will they raise up? What will they be called? From what were they to turn their feet on the Sabbath (v13)? Whose day is it? What were they to call a delight? What were they to call honorable? Whom do we honor when we delight in the Sabbath? Whose ways are they not to do on the Sabbath? Whose pleasure are they not to find on the Sabbath? Whose words are they not to speak on the Sabbath? What (whom!) does v14 say that this kind of Sabbath-keeping will make them delight in? Upon what will this Sabbath keeping make us to ride? Upon whose heritage will this kind of Sabbath-keeping make us to feed?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Isaiah 58. This chapter compares false religion with true. False religion that thinks God owes us for making ourselves miserable by obeying Him. Such religion treats worship and obedience as miseries that we endure so that God will be satisfied with what we do. Doesn’t it frighten you, dear Christian, that these people sought God daily, and delighted to know His ways, and asked from Him ordinances of justice, and took delight to approach Him (v2)… and yet the introduction to this entire chapter was a trumpet-blast announcement of their sin (v1)?

If such eagerness for worship, and zeal for learning, and commitment to obedience can be condemned by God as wicked, how can we tell by the fruit of our lives if we genuinely belong to God or not? Thankfully, our passage highlights a fruit that comes from false religion: driving others hard, accusing others, speaking wickedly (v9b). It turns out that if we consider God hard and demanding and uncaring with us (v5), requiring us to manipulate Him by what we do (v4), we will be hard and demanding and uncaring with others.

But the Lord has given us His worship and law generously, giving us that which is for good and for joy—to free us precisely from that sinful mindset that belongs to our natures (v6), and to turn around and be as merciful with others as God has been with us (v7).

What’s the great difference between the two kinds of religion? One says, “look what great things I have done for God!” (v3). The other says, “look what great things God has done for me!” (v9a). Those who trust in the Lord and rejoice in His mercy and grace become those who are merciful and gracious with others (v7, v10). Their lives become abundant not by the impressiveness of their effort, but by the continual work of God’s grace in them (v8, 11). And God uses them to bring life and healing and strength to others (v12).  Isn’t that what you would like, dear Christian? Which religion is yours?

Now, what if we have discovered that our hearts are too much like the false religion and too little like the true religion? None of us appreciate God’s goodness and generosity as much as we ought to. None of us are merciful and gracious to others as we ought to be.

Enter one of God’s good and generous gifts: His Sabbath. There’s a wonderful “If-then” in v13-14. It goes exactly opposite what many of us would expect. Apart from grace, we naturally approach Sabbath-keeping like Pharisees, thinking that good Sabbath keeping will show how much we delight in the Lord… we think that “If you delight yourself in the Lord, then you will turn your foot and call the Sabbath a delight.”

However, our passage says exactly the opposite: “If you turn your foot and call the Sabbath a delight, then you will delight yourself in the Lord.” In other words, every Sabbath is a heart-training day, a delight-training day. God has built into every single week a day that cures us just a little bit of the false religion, and grows us just a little bit in the true religion.

What are we to do on His holy day? Treat it as holy! In other words, treat it as His, not ours. There are particular places that He has for us to go (worship!), so we focus on going there instead of wherever else we would have wanted. There are particular pleasures (Him Himself in focused, direct fellowship) that He has for us to enjoy—pleasures that should obsolete and dwarf whatever else we would seek after. Even the type of conversations that we have are determined by the fact that it is His holy day.

We’re so convinced that our natural desires and pleasures are the best, that we don’t always feel like the Sabbath is a gift, but in moments when we don’t feel it, we need to trust what Scripture says. That’s a big part of the Christian life, isn’t it? Doing what God says is best, even when it feels to us like it’s not? There’s already a joy in entrusting ourselves to His wisdom, and the love in which He has given His good commands. It is sweet to submit to the Savior, to yield ourselves to Him who loves our soul.

But it is more than that. There is a promise here, and thousands of years of believers have experienced God’s faithfulness to that promise. The Lord teaches us that there is a mechanism here, and thousands of years of believers have experienced the truth of that teaching.

Oh, how delightful is the Lord, our life! Indeed, He makes us to ride on the heights. What is the heritage of Jacob our father? The Lord Himself is our inheritance! And every good and perfect gift that He provides in that relationship.
How does weekly Lord’s Day keeping turn you away from man-made religion to God-made religion?
Suggested songs: ARP92 “It’s Good to Thank the Lord” or TPH151 “Lord of the Sabbath, Hear Us Pray”

Monday, August 20, 2018

2018.08.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 7:13-23, 16:18-28

Questions for Littles: What do the scribes and Pharisees ask about in vv1-2? What question does Jesus ask back in v3? What had God commanded, according to v4a? What had God threatened, according to v4b? But what did the scribes and Pharisees say to people (v5)? What did their saying end up doing to God’s commandment (v6)? What does Jesus call them in v7? Who had prophesied about them? With what did Isaiah say they draw near (v8)? But where was their heart? What did Isaiah say about their worship (v9)? Why was their worship empty and pointless—who/what was coming up with their way of worshiping God? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned two of the most important reasons for being Reformed: to be free from the commandments of men, and to serve the Lord sincerely and truly.

The scribes were the Bible scholars of the church, and the Pharisees were the local religious leaders of the church. As far as their understanding of what the Scriptures taught, Jesus said that they actually understood the Bible rightly (cf. Mt 23:1-3), but where they fell into serious error was in coming up with their own things to add to Scripture (Mt 23:4), which resulted in focusing on the outside instead of the heart (Mt 23:5-7). The only solution is to cut all man-made teaching and authority out of the church (Mt 23:8-12).

That’s exactly the issue in our passage in Matthew 15. It’s not like their ideas sound bad on the face of things: make sure to wash your hands before you eat, and devote a certain portion of your wealth to the service of God that you refuse to use for anything else.

But the folly of adding their own ideas alongside God’s Word can be seen in the results. When our ideas are treated in the same way as God’s Word, our ideas are being given too much weight. So it’s not surprising that when push comes to shove, God’s Word then ends up being given too little weight.

Focusing too much upon hands that are soiled with dirt ends up in their neglecting the more important problem of hearts that are soiled with sin. Focusing too much upon guarding funds for serving the church ends up in their neglecting the more important duty of taking care of their parents.

There is something even worse than messing up our theology or messing up our obedience: messing up our relationship with God.

When we go away from God’s law to our own definition of what love is, God says about us, “Your heart is far from Me.” My heart far from God?! What could be worth falling into such a condition?!

When, in addition to what God has commanded for worship, we add what feels worshipful to us, God says about us, “in vain they worship Me.” If God says our worship is worthless, how can it even matter if we or anyone else likes it?

Ultimately, this is the entire point of being Reformed: Scripture alone defines our doctrine; Scripture alone defines love and obedience to God; Scripture alone defines how to worship God. Why? Because we want to draw near to Him with the whole heart, and we want to render unto Him worship that He values.

Adding any ideas of men, however well-meaning or good-looking to us, just isn’t worth the cost!
What negative criticism have you heard of being “Reformed”? How would you answer that now?
Suggested Songs: ARP119B “How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH119B “How Shall the Young…?”

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018.08.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 13:5-7

Questions for Littles: For what two reasons must we be subject (v5)? What do we also do because of this (v6)? Why do we pay taxes (6b)? What are four different kinds of things that we might owe to an authority (v7)? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we heard about two reasons that we are to obey the governing authorities: wrath and conscience.

The “wrath” reason is more immediate. We usually think of it in terms of “the wrath to come,” but in v5 it is connected to the ability to wield the sword from v4. There are things that the government commands that it really has no right to command—things that don’t help us love God or neighbor, and may actually be hindrances to loving God or neighbor.

Yet, the government still has that sword—that ability to punish—as God has ordained for it to have. There is a wisdom calculation that we must make: is it worth it to disobey on this point, in order to be able to love God and neighbor more conveniently?

But then there is the other reason: conscience. We covered that in Monday’s devotional on vv1-4, but it bears repeating that every lawful command must be obeyed, because government is instituted by God.

That brings us to the subject of taxes. The government at the time that Paul wrote this letter had done things like crucify Christians, cover them in tar, and light them on fire as torches. But, as long as it was also actually punishing evildoers, taxes were due to it as a matter of conscience.

However, there was another reason to pay. Tax collectors and soldiers were in cahoots with one another to get more money out of people than they were supposed to collect. There’s a choice there: is it worth it to suffer the wrath of the soldiers to stiff the tax collector on the overcharge?

At the end of the day, every authority over us is due one kind of thing or another—even if that thing is just respect or honor. And we must give them what is due for both reasons: punishment from men and conscience before God!
What do you owe to the various authorities in your life? Do you pay it?
Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments”

Friday, August 17, 2018

2018.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 1:35-51

Questions for Littles: What does John tell two of his disciples about Jesus (v35-36)? And what do they do (v37-39)? Who was one of these two (v40)? Whom did he bring to Jesus (v41-42)? What did Jesus predict about him? Whom did Jesus call in v43? Whom did he tell in v45? What did he say about Jesus? But what did Nathanael answer (v46)? What does Jesus say about him in v47? But what makes Nathanael change his mind about Jesus in v48-49? What does Jesus tell him he will see in v51? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus’s identity is the main focus.

John tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God (v36), the unspotted sacrifice that God provides for the forgiveness of sins.

Andrew tells us that Jesus is the Messiah (v41), which is to say that He is the anointed one. By this time, this was primarily a reference to His kingship, though we know from the rest of Scripture that it is also a reference to His offices as Prophet and Priest.

Philip tells us that Jesus is the focus of the whole Bible. He is the one that Moses wrote about in the law, and the one about whom all the prophets wrote.

Nathanael tells us that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel. That seems like quite a leap, except that he is taking Jesus’s knowledge of him as confirmation of what Philip had said.

Jesus Himself tells us that He is the new Israel. He is great Jacob’s greater son. It is valid to read Genesis 28:12 in the Hebrew as saying that the angels were ascending and descending upon him (Jacob). Not only does the grammar fit it better (the gender would have been incorrect for the word “it/him” to refer to the “ladder”), but John makes that parallel here.

Jesus has replaced Jacob. When heaven opens, what Nathanael—and every other believer—sees is that in order to be in covenant relationship with God, we must belong to Jesus Christ. This is a great shift from God’s covenant with Israel, but just like John the Baptist, all predecessors must give way to Christ. The question for you, then, is: do you belong to Christ?
How is Jesus your Sacrifice? King? Priest? Prophet? God? Salvation?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken” or TPH492 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

2018.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 6:12-20

Questions for Littles: What were some Corinthians saying they were allowed to do (v12)? What were they saying the stomach is made for (v13)? But whom does Paul warn them will destroy it? For whom does the body exist? And what will God do with us that He has already done with the Lord Jesus (v14)? Of what are our bodies members (v15)? Of what must we not make them members (v15-16)? In what way are we one with the Lord Jesus (v17)? How should we respond to sexual immorality (v18)? Against what do we sin in sexual immorality? But what is this our body (v19)? How did God claim His right to us (v20)? What should we do with both our body and our spirit?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we find a couple sayings that sound wise, and were going around the Corinthian church. “All things are lawful for me,” they said. I’ve heard a version of this, where those who profess faith in Christ say, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” By that, they mean, “I can do whatever I want, since I’ve got forgiveness in Jesus.”

But that’s not how someone who actually has forgiveness thinks. Rather, the one whose heart has been opened to the Lord and forgiven by the Lord wants to live in the way that glorifies the Lord and keeps him free from sin.

Another thing that they were saying was, “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods.” They were justifying their gluttony by saying, “this is the way God made us—that’s what stomachs are for!”

But the apostle reminds us that we are not in fact the way that God made us. Sin and death have entered the world, and the fact that our bodies will soon lie in the grave is a reminder that our impulses are full of sin now.

But the Corinthians were even using such excuses to tell themselves that it was ok to visit prostitutes. They were taking the temple of the Holy Spirit, the blood-bought possession of the Lord Jesus Christ—themselves—and joining it to a prostitute!

It is a sad fact that, as Christians, we think so much about how we can best enjoy ourselves rather than how we can best glorify God. But living for ourselves is theft. Our whole selves—body and soul—have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. We must live in the way that glorifies Him!
What must you stop doing that you have been doing? What must you do instead? 
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or HB276 “There Is a Fountain”

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018.08.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 28:10-22

Questions for Littles: What did Jacob dream (v10-12)? What were ascending and descending upon him? Who stood above him in v13? What did He promise to give to Jacob? What did He promise about his descendants in v14? And who would be blessed through them? What else does the Lord promise in v15? How does Jacob feel, when he wakes up (v17)? What does he think that place is? What does he do in v18, and what does he call the place in v19? What does Jacob vow in v21? And what does he promise in v22?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, Jacob is running for his life from Esau. The map tells us that he has gone about 60 miles by the time he stops. That would be a 15 hour day of 15 minute miles!

No wonder he is so tired that he can sleep with a rock for a pillow! But, he is about to get even more scared. He has a vision of angels ascending and descending upon him by means of some kind of ladder, and even of a manifestation of the Lord right at his head.

The rest of the interaction is rather odd. The Lord makes glorious covenant promises of the land (v13), the people (14a), salvation (14b), and even His personal presence (v15). But, when Jacob wakes up, he seems not to be taking God at His Word. He makes his vow in a “if” “then” sort of format.

As we read it, we want to believe that he’s implying that God will surely keep the promises, but what we observe of Jacob in the coming chapters doesn’t really encourage us to think that he’s approaching this from a position of faith. In fact, it seems like he is bargaining with God.

We must never do that. God doesn’t need anything from us at all. Rather, He generously invites us into relationship with Him. It is a blessing to us to have God as our God. It is a blessing to us to be able to give Him a tithe of everything. We don’t do these things as some sort of quid-pro-quo response to if God keeps up “His end of the bargain.”

Jacob definitely is not the hero here. The Lord is. He makes this glorious promises that belong to all Israel. But He especially makes them to those who belong to the true Israel—our Lord Jesus Christ!
What are the Lord’s promises to you in Jesus? How are you privileged to respond?
Suggested songs: ARP89C “Behold, How Blessed the People Are” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

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”

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2018.08.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 78:67-72

Questions for Littles: Whom did the Lord not choose (v67)? Whom did He choose instead (v68)? Why? What did He construct there (v69)? Whom else did He choose (v70)? From where did He take him? From doing what did He take him (v71)? For doing what did He take him? What did he do and how (v72)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned about God’s plan for bringing the cycle of failure to an end.

At first, it seems like this passage is only about David the son of Jesse. After all, v70 calls him by name and v70-71 describe his beginning as a shepherd, following mama sheep and baby lambs.

But then v72 describes a result from this “shepherding” that we don’t quite come away from 2Samuel satisfied has happened: “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Bathsheba. Uriah. Amnon. Absalom. Adonijah. There’s a fair measure of integrity and skill missing.

Even worse, we go from king to king, finding that they are just about all thieves and robbers, just as the Lord declared they would be in 1Samuel 8, and as the Lord rebukes them for being in Ezekiel 34.

At last, there is One who comes and says, “I am the door of the sheep… all who came before Me are thieves and robbers… I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10).

As we go through the history of Israel, we wonder when the time will come that there will be one faithful generation after another? Then we put John 10 together with the end of Psalm 78, and we find that this is a big part of what Jesus means when He announces that the kingdom has arrived.

Jesus is the promised, forever-King. He is great David’s greater Son, the Good Shepherd. And it is His generations who transmit faith, worship, and obedience from one generation to the next. If ever there was a time when Psalm 78:5-7 would be fulfilled among God’s people, it is now!
How does Christ’s Kingship over the church come out in daily and weekly life?
Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”