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”