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Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019.01.20 Corporate Confession of Sin from Romans 1

Our confession of sin tomorrow morning comes from Romans 1. It's so easy to identify that our culture demands approval for perversion. It's more difficult to identify that the roots of all of these sins still infect our hearts and lives. Praise God for His sanctifying and persevering grace!



2019.01.19 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 18, 2019

2019.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 8:1-11

Questions for Littles: Who went to the Mount of Olives (v1)? When did He leave there (v2)? Into where did He come again? Who came to Him? What did He do for them? Who brought someone to Him in v3? Whom did they bring? What did they call Jesus (v4)? What did they say had happened? What did they claim that the law says should be done (v5)? What were they doing to Jesus (v6)? What did they want to do to Him? What does Jesus proceed stoop down and do? By Jesus’s answer in v7, what does it seem they had wanted Him to be the one to do? Whom does He say should throw the first stone? What does He do again in v8? What do those who had heard Him do (v9)? How many accusers were left? What does Jesus ask her (v10)? What does He command her to do from now on (v11)?
In the Gospel reading this week, we had a passage that is bracketed by the critical-text (used for ESV, etc.) but well attested by both the received-text (KJV/NKJV) and the majority text. The critical text is assembled, in large part, by compiling bits and pieces, recovered relatively recently, from ruins of desert sects and secluded monasteries. Then committees of critical scholars guessed, in each instance, at what might have been changed into something else and why. One of the complaints that the psychologizers have against this passage is that it doesn’t “fit” in its spot in John’s gospel. What a mistake!

There’s a wonderful thing that happens in this passage that occurs the day after the feast has ended. Jesus has gone up to the mountain, and everyone has returned to their homes (tents!). Jesus comes back from the mountain to the people. Remind you of anyone? Why are the people still here? Which people are still here? It’s those thirsty people whom He had called to Himself on the last day of the feast! vv1-2 set this up. The people came to Him.

What does He do to slake their thirst? He teaches them. He’s surrounded by a crowd of the thirsty, and soon arrives a crowd of the hostile. Scribes and Pharisees, trying to get Jesus to condemn a woman without the two or three witnesses that the law requires. Trying to get Jesus to cast the first stone. Trying to get Jesus to violate both Jewish and Roman authority structure by authorizing and participating in an execution.

Now Jesus, who has been on the mountain, writes with His finger on the ground. Who else in the Bible writes with His own finger? At the very least, Jesus is identifying Himself not as Moses who came down from the mountain, but as God who met him on the mountain.

Almost certainly, He is writing the ten commandments on the ground. It has its desired effects, and the scribes and Pharisees can’t stand His demonstration that they have broken the exact same law that she has broken—that there is something worse than by stoning that each of us deserves.

Now, here is a problem for each of us, and a problem that the woman still has at the end of the passage. She has not been condemned by a stoning tribunal, but there is another judgment coming. And she will not be any more successful at not sinning after this event than she had been before. Now what?

This presses upon me and upon you how badly we ought to thirst for Jesus’s righteousness to be our righteousness. He has the right to cast the stone. Worse, He has the right to cast body and soul into Hell. And He will be wrong if He doesn’t. This is the very reason that He came to suffer it in our place! When we come to Him to teach us, He teaches us the law that sends us to cling to Him alone for life. Are you thirsty?
What is your hope for when you stand before Him who wrote the ten commandments with His finger?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019.01.20 Congregational Prayer for Help from Psalm 104

Our prayer for help for this Lord's Day, from Psalm 104 to go along with the song of adoration, which paraphrases that Psalm, "O Worship the King" - you can prepare for the entire service via the service notes via the green link at hopewellarp.org


2019.01.17 Hopewell Herald


Hopewell Herald – January 17, 2019

Dear Congregation,

This week’s morning sermon text has kept me thinking about how we have not perished, but rather been given life—and that life abundantly—in Christ Jesus.

And this the Lord did for us at the cost of His Son, so that He might clothe us with His Son. What cause for thankfulness, and love, and zealous service, and obedience!

How appropriate it is, then, that we also hope by God’s help to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. There’s a busy couple days before the Lord’s Day, but we must certainly not let them be so busy that we fail to anticipate and prepare for the Table.

Looking forward to Word, sacrament, and prayer with you,

Pastor

CONFERENCE-PREPARATION WORK DAY!!
Immediately following the Men’s Breakfast this saturday, at 8:00a.m., we will be having a congregational work-day to knock out several tasks to make our campus more hospitable for the upcoming Winter Theology Conference. All who can participate in the work day or help with lunch for the workers, please contact the Johnstons.

And don’t forget MEN’S BREAKFAST, Saturday, at 6:30a.m. We look forward to good fellowship and food, earthly and spiritual, as we continue to study Ecclesiastes together.

HOSTS’ HOMES SIGN-UP
We are hoping for a large number of guests for the Winter Conference, and Elder Mangum is compiling a list of available hosts’ homes. If you are willing to be blessed by sharing your space and time with other believers in town for the conference, please communicate to Charlie your details (which nights, room for how many in beds, room for how many on couches, room for how many in sleeping bags, family/ages preferences, etc.).

LORD'S DAY – January 20, 2019

10 a.m. Study Class
Westminster Confession for Study Classes. We’ll be continuing the 4th subject: The Trinity.

11 a.m. Morning Worship
Children’s Catechism for Jan 20
Q. 105. What is prayer? A. Prayer is asking God for things which he has promised to give.

Shorter Catechism for Jan 20
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor's wealth or outward estate.

Hymns and Psalms
+ SONG OF ADORATION – HB26 O Worship the King
+ HOLY SCRIPTURE PUBLICLY SUNG – ARP112 O Praise the Lord

Basis of first portion of worship service
Scripture Readings
Old Testament – Joshua 13:7-33
Epistle – 2Corinthians 1:8-14
Gospel – John 8:12-20

Sermon Scripture text and topic
In Genesis 3:20-24 the Holy Spirit gives us the first example of a believer expressing faith, the first display of the covering of sin, and clear instruction that the way to life is not backward to Eden, but forward to Christ.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
As we come to show forth the Lord’s death until He comes, we do so by feeding upon Him by faith at His table. As we learned recently in John, this “feeding” is a coming to Him, beholding Him, believing in Him, abiding in Him, and having Him as our life and our purpose (cf. Jn 6:35,37,40,45,47,56,57). You may wish to employ the attached document as you prepare for this holy meal.

12:45 p.m. Catechism Class

1 p.m. Food Fellowship
There is an open invitation each Lord’s Day to join the several households of the church family that stay to eat and worship together throughout the afternoon). During the meal we have an open mic time, and the “Pastor’s Memory Challenge.”

▫Memory Verse for Jan 20
(Genesis 3:20) And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

2:30 p.m. Church-Family Worship
The weekly p.m. service includes an extended singing time of favorites selected by the congregation, a Scripture teaching time from “the epistle reading,” and elder-led prayer. All are welcome to this worship time!

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for January:
In Christ Church in Los Angeles, CA

January Psalm of the Month

Our ushers for the month of January are: Elijah Loud (head usher), Thomas Johnston, Nathan Buonomo, Andrew Buonomo

Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)
▪ The Winter Theology Conference, February 1-3
▪ Jeff and Carrie Maskevich and family for her recently discovered cancer
▪ Pray with KC for her friend Kathy who is in chemo and radiation for grade 3 adenocarcinoma of her abdomen and pelvis, asking for peace, guidance, healing & not reacting to the chemo drugs on the 24th or 14th; and, other acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son
▪ Pray with E&S E for provision and wisdom for their new home construction project. It has been exhausting, and they feel needy of strength and good decision making
▪ Pray with D&M G for her mother who is back in the hospital; and, pray for comfort and against bitterness for husband Amos and six children (ages 2-12) of a nearby Amish lady who was killed by a drunk driver in front of her 9 year old son while they were bicycling; and, for son Jeremiah with wife Julianna: marriage, work for him, and their walk with Christ
▪ Pray with SG for young Jedediah Vick (along with parents Austin and Esther) who has been diagnosed with meningitis.
▪ Pray with J&H H for his father’s cancer, and sweetness in their remaining time together; and for his youngest brother; and for his sister-in-law and family as she faces and fights stage three breast cancer
▪ Pray with G&M H for grown children James, Paul, and Holly, that the Lord would turn them back to Himself and bring the stability of His peace, joy, and wisdom into their lives
▪ Pray with R&M J for physical and spiritual comfort in the wake of the departure to glory of their baby in the womb; and for 7 & 9 year old karate classmates of Thomas, whose father is dying
▪ Pray with C&T P for her brother Todd, needing to live a life of faith in and love to Christ; for the Lord’s mercy and healing in her many health issues
▪ Pray with J&D P for her brother-in-law, Tracy Seat, recovering from a pneumonia bad enough to put him on IV antibiotics and cause concern that a return of cancer might be the underlying cause
▪ Pray with D&K R for their family’s growth in godliness, especially dying to self, godly speech, and Lord’s Day keeping
▪ Pray with J&M R for Mariah’s adoption; and for friend Del Bailey and family in his recent cancer diagnosis with very poor prognosis
▪ Pray with GR for friend Abby to come to faith in Christ
▪ Pray with JR for believing friend Jeanette Cary who is in poor health
PRAISE with D&D R for Ms. Margarite’s recovery from flu and pneumonia; continue to pray for her health and comfort as a resident @Magnolia
▪ Pray with R&R T for her siblings (brother and 2 sisters) who are not believers, and especially wisdom and grace toward the sister who is particularly hostile
▪ Pray with S&V Y for him as he quits smoking; and for continued health for Brittney, wife of Andre, with peace and joy for their entire family, after her strokes
▪ Please pray with In Christ ARP Church in Los Angeles, CA, throughout the month of January
▪ Please pray for all ARP presbyteries, churches, and agencies

Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue. (WCF 21.3)

2019.01.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Questions for Littles: Whose apostle was Paul (v1)? By whose will was Paul an apostle? Who else wrote this letter with him? To whose church did he write it? Where was this church? To which other people in Achaia was it written? How many of them? What two things does the apostle pronounce upon them (v2)? From what two persons? Whom does the apostle bless in prayer in v3? What three things does he call God? What does God do for us (v4a)? In how much of our troubles does God bless us? What does v4 give as one reason for which God comforts us? In what troubles will we be able to comfort others? With what comfort will we be able to comfort them? By whom will we and they have been comforted? What abounds in us, according to v5a? So also what of ours abounds (v5b)? Through whom? For why/whom were Paul and Timothy afflicted (v6)? What was steadfast (v7)? What did they know?
In this week’s Epistle reading, the passage is full of the sovereignty of God, in places and ways that we might find surprising.

First, there is God’s sovereignty in ministry. It is by God’s will that Paul was an apostle of Jesus.

Then, there is God’s sovereignty in the lives of all the saints.  Grace can only be grace if it is sovereign. Anything other way, and grace would be more like rewarding or coaching. And true peace can come from God only if He is able to give us every kind of peace. An incomplete peace is, by definition, not peaceful! But grace and peace both come from God and from Christ. Jesus, of course, is Himself the sovereign God. There is no one else from whom grace and peace can come.

Then, there is God’s sovereignty in comfort. He is the God of all comfort. There is no comfort that He cannot give. He comforts us in all tribulation. There is no trouble in which we does not comfort us. His can help others in any trouble. There is no trouble that our friend may be in, in which this comfort cannot console them.

Finally, there is God’s sovereignty in suffering. Yes, He is able to comfort us once we are in the suffering, but He also sovereignly rules over our coming into that suffering. Verse 5 says very specifically that  it was the sufferings of Christ that abounded in Paul and Timothy. And there is no greater example of God’s sovereignty in suffering than the suffering of Christ (cf. Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:28).

It is no wonder, then, that the apostle concludes that the results of the suffering were planned all along. “If we are afflicted, it is for your consolation…” One thing that can be a most difficult part of suffering is when it seems to have no purpose. But Paul knows the purpose of his own suffering (to be able to console others), and theirs (in order to partake of the consolation).

This is one of the sweetest of God’s purposes for our suffering. Yes, we suffer in order to glorify Him. Yes, we suffer in order to serve others. But we also suffer in order that we might be consoled. God loves to console His people, and to make that consolation abound through Christ!
When have you suffered the most? How has Christ been your consolation? Whom else have you had an opportunity to comfort? How do you prioritize being a comfort to others?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

190116FW Josh 13:1-6 - Our Fleeting Labor Established and Employed by Our Faithful Lord

An imperfect, but hopefully helpful, sample of a family worship lesson in Joshua 13:1-6.

2019.01.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 13:1-6

Questions for Littles: What was Joshua’s condition in v1? What does the Lord tell him about himself? What does the Lord tell him about the land? What two people’s land still needed to be conquered (v2)? Where was the Geshurite land (3a)? To whom did the five regions/cities in 3b belong? What other lands needed finished clearing (v4-6a)? According to God, who would drive them (out)? What part does He assign to Joshua? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we’re coming to a transition point already. Basically, the conquest is over except for the paperwork and the closing remarks. And we’re halfway through the book.

That’s because Joshua isn’t really a book about military battles won.

It’s a book about power displayed. It began with “Moses, My servant, is dead.” It has proceeded to “You are old, advanced in years.” But at the beginning, it was still, “I will be with you.” And even here, it is still, “I will drive them out from before the children of Israel.” Seasons of church history, along with entire lives of believers, come and go. God’s power is forever.

It’s a book about promises kept. It began with a promise to Joshua that the Lord would be with him. Fast forward to a conquered and almost-completely possessed land, and now Joshua is old, advanced in years. And the Lord has been with him. The. Whole. Time. Not only that, but this land is an inheritance. 2.5 tribes got theirs on the other side of the Jordan. 9.5 remain on this side.

And certainly not because of any faithfulness on their part. Since Leah and Rachel got into their little maidservant-assisted arms race, the story of these 12 has pretty much been, “Really Lord? These are the fathers of the church? These are 12 of the 24 pillars of the congregation in glory?” It’s all grace. God’s gracious keeping of God’s gracious promises, because God is faithful. The entire theme of the book is found in 21:45 and again in 23:14—“Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”

And it’s a book about progress in redemption. Here are the people from whom Christ would come. His father David would eventually subdue the Philistines in a way that none of the judges ever could. Here is the land where Christ would live and die and rise again for us. And the land from which the good news of Christ crucified and risen would go out into all the world.

That’s ultimately what every book in the Bible is about: the praise of God’s glorious grace to sinners, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. And whether this is the day that you come to believe in Christ, or just one of many days in which you live and love and serve obediently through faith in Him, that’s what this day of your life is about too. The praise of God’s glorious grace to sinners, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be faithful. Be obedient. But remember that it’s not by your faithfulness, but by the power and promises of God!
In what circumstances of your life right now (hint: just name whatever your circumstances are!) is God demonstrating His power and His faithfulness to His promises? 
Suggested songs: ARP90B “Teach Us to Count Our Days” or TPH90A “Lord, You Have Been Our Dwelling Place”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2019.01.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 32

Read Psalm 32
Questions for Littles: What does v1 say about the man whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered? What does v2 say about the man against whom the Lord doesn’t count the guiltiness of sin? In v3, what made it feel like his bones were rotting so that he groaned all day? Whose hand (v4) was making him feel like that? To whom did the sinner acknowledged his sin, stop hiding his guilt, and confess his transgressions (v5)? How did the LORD respond? What do the godly do, in a time when the Lord may be found (v6)? What else does the Lord do for those who seek His forgiveness or pray to Him (v7)? What does the Lord do for believers in v8? What surrounds the person who trusts in the LORD (v10)? How should the righteous respond to Him (v11)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin all came from Psalm 32. This wonderful Psalm is quoted by Paul to prove that we are made right with God only through faith in Romans 4. Notice what the man contributes to his being blessed in vv1-2: transgression, sin, and iniquity. By the sacrifice of Christ, God doesn’t justify the godly; He very specifically justifies the ungodly (cf. Rom 4:5).

Of course, sinning by itself doesn’t cause forgiveness. There are many who sin and are not bothered by it. There are others who sin, and think that they can do something themselves to make up for it.

What is it that leads to the forgiveness in Psalm 32? It’s the acknowledging of our sin and confessing of our transgression to the Lord. Just as the Lord saved from the flood (v6), so also He saves from sin (v5). The missing piece, of course, is Christ Himself, with His death and resurrection. He is our “ark”—the One in whom alone we can be saved, the One in whom alone “the flood of great waters” will not come near us. Confessing our sin to Him (v5) must always be joined by praying to Him (v6), hiding in Him (v7), and listening to Him (v8-9).

All of these things, taken together, are summarized in v10 as “trust in the Lord.” And what is the result? He makes us righteous; He makes us to rejoice! Behold how salvation is completely a gift! And behold how complete a gift it is: forgiveness, safety, peace, guidance, mercy, and joy.

Perhaps the best part of this gift is found in the second line of v10: he who trusts in Yahweh, steadfast love shall surround him. Like an army that allows no escape, so the covenanted love of God in Christ Jesus will allow us no escape. When we trust in Him, our whole life is enclosed with steadfast love!
What sin have you been trying to pretend away? In which ways are you tempted to think of yourself as better than others, or pretty good? Which aspect of trusting in Christ from this Psalm do you think needs the most work for you? What are you going to do about that? 
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH32B “How Blest Is He Whose Trespass”

Monday, January 14, 2019

2019.01.14 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?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned why God created 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 as the glorified brethren of the Firstborn, our Lord Jesus Christ!

Whatever you are going through, this is what your trial is accomplishing! Whatever else God intends to do through the task in front of you, this is what the duty before you will ultimately accomplish!

There is no more comfort-assuring, joy-enlarging, purpose-giving doctrine than God’s eternal, adopting election to the praise of His glorious grace!
What are you going through? What tasks lie before you? What is God doing in them?
Suggested Songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”