Saturday, January 12, 2019

2019.01.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:20-24

Questions for Littles: What does Adam call his wife (v20)? Why? Of whom is she the mother? Who made tunics for Adam and his wife (v21)? Of what did He make them? What else did He do? Whom did Yahweh say the man had become like (v22)? In what way? What might the man put out his hand to take? To do what with it? Why? Where did Yahweh send the man (v23)? To do what? What did God place at the east of the garden of Eden (v24)? What else did He place? What did it do? To guard what?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we have the first big act of faith, the first display of redemption, and the first protective act of discipline.

You might not think a husband’s new nickname for his wife would be a big moment in redemptive history, but here is a big one. Adam has just heard that there is going to be a Redeemer who crushes the serpent. He has just heard that there is an entire line of those who will live, and that they will come from his wife. Suddenly, “Mrs. Man” isn’t a good enough name for her. Now, she’s “Eve”—“Life”! He’s heard about all his misery, but his primary response is to trust in the promise about Jesus. Hallelujah!

This passage also describes the first display of redemption—a substitutionary sacrifice. Scripture tells us that death entered the world through sin, but the first one isn’t Adam or Eve. It’s the animal that died so that they could be covered. Notice also that the Lord Himself personally clothes them. What a glorious picture of what God did with His Son—not just providing a sacrifice, but personally clothing sinners with His Son’s righteousness.

Finally, this passage displays God’s protective discipline. The tree of life belonged to the covenant of the garden. It signified the everlasting life that Adam would have earned had he kept that covenant. He had no right to what it represented, so he had no right to it. Not now. But we do see that tree again—on either side of the river in Revelation 22. The paradise of God still exists (Rev 2:7); it’s just reserved for glory in the New Heavens and Earth (Rev 22:2). When the Scripture says that the flaming sword “guards the way,” it is not so that we may never get to it; rather, it is so that we would do so only through Christ!
How have you responded to the good news about life in Jesus? How are you covered—by whose sacrifice? Who has done this? Will you one day eat from the tree of life?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Friday, January 11, 2019

190111FW John 7:37-53 - Humble Thirst for the Rock that Is Christ

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in John 7:37-53.

2019.01.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 7:37-53

Questions for Littles: What day of the feast is this (v37)? Who stands and cries out? Whom does Jesus invite to come to Him? To do what? About whom does Jesus talk in v38? What will happen to that person? About whom was Jesus speaking (v39)? What were people saying about Him in v40-42? What were the people divided over (v43-44)? What did the officers from v32 do in v45? What do the Pharisees ask them? What do the officers answer in v46? What do the Pharisees ask them in v47? What do they ask in v48? What do they say about the entire feast-keeping crowd in v49? Who speaks up in v50? What does he ask in v51? How do they answer him (v52)? What do they give as the reason for not believing in Him? Where does everyone go in v53?
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus announces Himself as the water in the wilderness. The Feast of Tabernacles was all about remembering the wilderness period. And a big part of the wilderness period was the miracle of water from the rock when the Israelites thought they would die of thirst.

Now Jesus identifies Himself as that Rock. He not only promises to quench our thirst but to fill us with so much life that it bursts forth from our hearts! Apart from Christ, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies (Mt 15:19); but the Holy Spirit comes along and changes our hearts by filling us with the life of Christ!

We have to choose. Are we going to recognize Jesus as the Prophet greater than Moses (v40, cf. Deut 18:15ff)? Are we going to recognize that His words are Divine words (v46)? Are we going to listen to what He says and respond to what He does (v51)?

May God save us from unbelief! And, we see in v48-49 one of the main things from which we need saving: self-righteousness. One of the things that God used to enable many in the crowd to believe in Jesus was their thirst. They knew they needed a Savior. They were thirsty. But the Pharisees thought that they were better than the accursed crowd (v48-49). If we believe that we are better than others, we must admit instead that we are thirsty and need life from Christ.
What time in your life can you remember, when you felt more sharply your need of Jesus? How does remembering that time help you trust in Him?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2019.01.13 Worship Service Notes

Complete with all the texts and songs, the Service Notes are a great way to prepare yourself or your family for morning worship on the Lord's Day. Or, print them out and bring them for your early reader or invited guest, who may appreciate the help following along! For the Service Notes for the 13th, [CLICK HERE]. (the most recent Service Notes are always available via the green link in the upper-right-hand corner)

190110FW 1Cor 16:13-24 - Battling That Loves and Loving That Battles

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in 1Corinthians 16:13-24

2019.01.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 16:13-24

Questions for Littles: What four commands does the apostle give in v13? In what way must everything be done (v14)? Whose household has devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints (v15)? How must they also act toward Stephanus (v16)? To whom else must they submit? Who had visited Paul (v17)? On whose behalf had these three men served? What did they do for Paul (v18)? For whom else had they done this? What did the apostle tell to the Corinthians to do with them now? What did the apostle send to Corinth from the churches of Asia, and from Aquila and Priscilla (v19)? From whom else did he send greetings at the end of v19? From whom in v20? Whom did the apostle command them to greet in v20? How? What changes about the handwriting in v21? What frightful thing does the apostle say in v22? For what does he pray? What blessing does he give in v23? And what in v24? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we see a combination of strength and love. The commands in v13 are fighting commands. Watch. Stand fast. Be brave. Be strong. All of these things are in the faith. The ability to follow this letters instructions apparently rests upon trusting in Christ and being committed to Him.

We are made right with God only by what Jesus has done. And it is exactly this confidence that enables all of the “doing” in Christianity. That doing, therefore, is first and foremost a loving response and commitment to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Paul comes to write with his own hand just a couple verses at the end of the letter, he makes a shocking selection for the first thing that he writes: “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him go to Hell!” That is what it means to be accursed.

Does that shock us? For the apostle’s part, it’s directly tied to his own longing for the Lord Jesus at the end of v22. I wonder if we have such a longing for the return of the Lord Jesus. We will completely agree with v22 at that point!

There is a symmetry with v13-14 in v23-24. How do we keep v23? The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with you. How do we keep v24? May love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Yes, it is all about a loving response and commitment to the Lord Jesus. But from where do these come? Also from the Lord Jesus! We must look to Him and His love to give us strength in Him and love for Him!

And one of the first ways in which we will see this strength in Jesus and love for Jesus is in submission to the servants that Jesus puts over us, and affection for the family into which Jesus has brought us!
What are the times in your day and week that you are pointed back to Jesus and have fellowship with Him? What are the times that you submit to those of His servants whom He has put over you? What are the times that you show affection for His people in greetings and service?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2019.01.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 12

Read Joshua 12
Questions for Littles: Upon which kind of Canaanite people, from each tribe, does chapter 12 focus (v1, 7)? On which side of the Jordan does chapter 12 begin (v1)? Which king gets two verses to himself in vv2-3? Which king gets two verses to himself in vv4-5? Who conquered these two (v6)? To whom was this land given? Who conquered the kings in the second half of the chapter (v7)? To whom are their territories given? Which peoples had these kings ruled (v8)? How many kings named in vv9-24? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have a list of all of the kings that have been defeated—first by Moses, and then by Joshua. This is going to become even more significant when we get to the themes of the book of Judges, “there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

So, on the one hand, Israel was different from these 34 kingdoms, because they did not have a king at all. Even Moses, who defeats the two great kings that get all of that “press” earlier in the chapter—even Moses is called “the servant of Yahweh” not once but twice in v6. Who defeats all these other kings? Not Israelite kings, but servants!

But, on the other hand, as we are going to find out, Israel turns out very sadly similar to these other kingdoms. Many people have put up in their homes the “as for me and my house” verse from 24:15. Very few put up in their homes v19: “But Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve Yahweh for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.’”

So here, in chapter 12, when this massive list of kingdoms is given, the emphasis is not so much on the difference between Israel and these kingdoms but rather between Yahweh and their kings. Yahweh is perfectly good. Yahweh is keeping His threats of judgment against them. Yahweh is keeping His promises of inheritance to His people.

And Yahweh cannot be defeated. Be there ever so powerful kings as the ones conquered by Moses, be there ever so many kings as the ones conquered by Joshua, still Yahweh cannot be defeated. He cannot die. Who is a mighty God like Yahweh your God?

This is a necessary lesson for our age today. The enemies of the people of God are many. Powerful nations. Powerful religions. Powerful armies. But Christ cannot be defeated!
What/who seems threatening to you in this world? How do they compare to Christ? 
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH2A “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage?”

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2019.01.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 72

Read Psalm 72
Questions for Littles: Whose Psalm was this? What did he want God to give to the king (v1a)? To the king’s Son (1b)? Whom would the king judge with what (2a, 2b)? And what would respond by imitating Him (3a, 3b)? What kinds of people would He especially help and oppose (v4, 12-14)? How long would His kingdom have this impact (v5)? How great would be His effect upon the people (v6-7a,b)? And for how long (7c, 17)? How large would His kingdom be (v8)? Whom would it include (v9, 10, 11)?? What prophecy, in particular is fulfilled about Him (9b)? What will be done for Him (15)? And how will creation respond (16)? What is the ultimate result of the kingdom described in this Psalm (v18-19)? Of what is this Psalm a summary and climax (v20)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, Confession of Sin, and Song of Adoration came from Psalm 72. Although as the psalms are arranged in our Bibles, this one comes fairly early on, it is worth recognizing that v20 causes us to consider it a great climax in the Psalter, and that v18-19 cause us to consider its subject matter to be the wondrous things that only Yahweh God can do, and that are the greatest cause of His being glorified forever and filling the earth with His glory.

So, pretty quickly, we’ve moved beyond the possibility that this is Solomon praying, “Dear Lord, help me to be a good king.” He’s not just praying for a kingly son of David. He’s praying for “The” Kingly Son of David…

Whose rule would be not just over Israel, but over the whole earth. And who would not just reign for a good long while, but forever and ever. And not only over men, but over all of creation in such a way that it actually undoes the Fall—for mountains and hills, but also for the interaction of people during His reign. He would ultimately raise up the poor and oppressed and needy, and bring down all oppressors.

Bringing down oppressors is a duty of all kings. Raising up all the poor and needy is an impossibility unless the fall itself is undone. Jesus Himself said, “the poor you will always have with you.”

But undoing the fall is exactly what this king would do. v9 tells us that this is the serpent’s-head-crusher that this psalm is talking about. The One before whom the serpent would go on his belly. The One before whom the serpent would eat dust all his days.

This psalm is about Jesus, our forever King whose salvation is God’s most wondrous work!
What result of this Psalm hasn’t come yet? How are you praying and working for it? 
Suggested songs: ARP180 “Christ Shall Have Dominion” or TPH417 “Jesus Shall Reign”

Monday, January 7, 2019

190107FW Gen 3:16-19 - Thy Kingdom Come: the Curses that Christ Reverses

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in Genesis 3:16-19

2019.01.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 3:16-19

Questions for Littles: To whom does God speak immediately after to the serpent (v16)? What will happen to her sorrow and conception? Who will multiply them? What will happen to childbirth? Whom will she desire to control? Who will crush her? To whom did God speak after to the woman (v17)? What is the first thing that God points out that Adam has done? What was the second thing that Adam had done? What does God actually curse? How will Adam eat of it? For how long? What will the ground bring forth (v18)? What will he have to eat? By what will he eat bread (v19)? Until what happens? From what was Adam taken? What is he? To what will He return?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we found out about the sin and misery into which the fall brought us. Children who profane God’s image and bring agony instead of joy. Marriages in which wives tend to control their husbands and husbands tend to squelch their wives. Work that is toilsome. Sustenance that is wearisome. Being exposed as dust by death.

The serpent attacked the first marriage/family over God’s provision in the garden. And the sin and misery into which man fell centered upon marriage/family and God’s provision. Later, when God made a covenant with Israel, covenant blessings included blessings upon their children and God’s provision to them. Psalm 128 defined the blessing of the man that fears Yahweh as enjoying the fruit of his work, with his wife being a great blessing to him, and his children shooting up like olive plants around his dining table.

Marriage. Children. Work. A central place in the blessings of Eden. A central place in the serpent’s attack. A central place in the misery of the fall.

And a central place in the spiritual warfare of King Jesus. King Jesus makes His people into light within a dark world, during an evil time (Eph 5:8-16). Rather than drinking the night away, we are to be filled with the Spirit to be aware and active (Eph 5:17-21). This is the great spiritual war of the evil days (Eph 6:10-20). And what are the central places of our battle? Marriage (Eph 5:22-33). Children (Eph 6:1-4). Work (Eph 6:5-9). Everyone’s in this battle. The question is whether or not you are fighting.
What is your current part in the battle between darkness and light? How are you fighting?
Suggested Songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All” or TPH128B “Blest the Man That Fears Jehovah”