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Friday, May 17, 2019

2019.05.17 Hopewell Herald Pastoral Letter - How to Be Blessed, and Blessed How Much?

The following is the pastoral letter from this week's "Hopewell Herald." The Herald includes much more information about the church and its activities, a congregational prayer reminder list, and often with links to helpful resources from the web. If you would like to receive the herald, please email church@hopewellarp.org to let us know!


Dear Congregation,

How do we come to be blessed, and how blessed will we be? The answers are bound up in that wonderful pronouncement from the morning text on the 12th, “Blessed be Yahweh, God of Shem!”

Shem was son of Noah and brother of Ham. He couldn’t come to be blessed by doing better than Ham. He had the same nature as Ham. But just as chapter 6 told us, “Grace found Noah,” so also now the end of chapter 10 tells us, “Grace found Shem and joined him to the ever-blessed God.”

How did Shem come to be joined to God? Through faith in Jesus Christ. What blessing would Japheth find in the church (the tent of Shem)? The blessing of finding that God belongs to him, and he belongs to God, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Is that your blessedness? That God is your God, and you are His through faith in Jesus Christ? For children of the first Adam, that is the only true blessedness that we can have.

Christ was not in the first Adam. Instead, He is a brand new start—an entirely new humanity. Not only does Jesus have all blessedness in Himself as truly God, but as truly Man He is also the representative through Whom all in Him have Yahweh as their God. And their Father!

That answer the question, “How do we come to be blessed?” But how about the question, “How blessed are we, when we come to be blessed?” The answer: blessed with the blessedness of God Himself, precisely according to the worthiness of Jesus, in whom alone we are blessed.”

The New Covenant is not in our blood. It’s in Christ’s. Its blessings aren’t secured by us. Rather, He secures us in Himself, and He secures all of the blessings for us. Those who believe in Jesus receive not merely some blessing, and not only great blessing, but literally every blessing in Heaven (cf. Eph 1:3).

“Blessed be Yahweh, God of Jesus… and may all of us dwell in the tents of Jesus!” He has given Himself to us, body and soul. He has secured for us all of the blessings of the New Covenant in His blood. This is what the Spirit represents to us at the Lord’s table. This is what the Spirit seals to us at the Lord’s table. This is what the Spirit applies to us at the Lord’s table.

As you examine yourself in preparation for the Supper on the Lord’s Day, here is the great thing to ask: is Christ my God, and is God my God through Christ? Have I turned from serving self to serving Christ? And—since this turning can never give me Christ Himself—have I turned from trusting in self to trusting Christ?

If the answer is yes; if you have true (though, of course, deeply flawed!) repentance and faith; then, come to the table seeking that the Spirit would press into your heart, “Blessed is the Lord who, in Christ, has joined Himself to me as my God!”

Eager to enjoy the displaying, sealing, and applying of this glorious reality with you,

Pastor

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