Saturday, March 9, 2019

2019.03.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 6:13-22

Questions for Littles: Who is speaking in Genesis 6:13? To whom? What does God say has come before Him? Why? What does God tell Noah to do in Genesis 6:14? What does He say to put in it? With what does He say to cover it? What else does the Lord say about the design for the ark in Genesis 6:15-16? What did the Lord say would be His particular part in Genesis 6:17—what would He do? Why? What would the Lord establish with Noah (Genesis 6:18)? And with whom else? What else does the Lord tell Noah to bring in Genesis 6:19-21? What does Noah do (Genesis 6:22)? How much of what God commanded him did he do?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we find several mercies that God shows unto Noah.

One mercy that God demonstrates to Noah is that He talks to him. God is merciful to tell His people what He is like, what they are like, what He plans to do, what He wants them to do, and more.

A second mercy that God demonstrates to Noah is that He spares his life. I think that sometimes, the greatness of God’s mercy to spare us seems to fade from our view; but as Noah worked on the ark, he would have had that continual reminder of God sparing him.

A third mercy that God demonstrates to Noah is that He establishes His covenant with him. He brings Noah, and all those who are under Noah and in Noah, into a committed relationship with Himself.

A fourth mercy that God demonstrates to Noah is employing Noah to spare and bless others. God gives Noah a part in His plan and even makes Noah an image of Himself and of Christ. This is a tremendous privilege.

A final mercy is that the Lord testified of Noah’s righteous deeds. Of course, these were only done by God’s grace. And that is true of all of our righteous deeds as well. What a great mercy—to have the living God declare his righteous deeds!
Where has God spoken to you? How has God spared you? In whom has God brought you into covenant with Himself? With whom else has He brought you into a display on earth of that covenant? How has God given you the privilege of being used in His work in others? When will God declare your righteous deeds?
Suggested Songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest”

Friday, March 8, 2019

2019.03.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 10:22-42

Questions for Littles: What was happening in Jerusalem (John 10:22)? What season was it? Where was Jesus in John 10:23? What did the Jews do to Him in John 10:24a? What did they demand (verse 24b)? How does Jesus respond in John 10:25? What does Jesus say bear witness of Him in addition to His words? What is His explanation for their unbelief in John 10:26? Who do hear His voice (John 10:27)? What else do they do? What does Jesus give them (John 10:28)? Who can snatch them out of His hand? Who has given Jesus’s sheep to Him (John 10:29)? Who can snatch them out of His Father’s hand? What does Jesus say about Himself in John 10:30? How do the Jews respond in John 10:31? What does Jesus ask in John 10:32? What do the Jews say they are stoning Him for (John 10:33)? What does Jesus point out about language in John 10:34-35? What does Jesus say the Father did to Him in John 10:36? What does He present as proof that He is the Son of God (John 10:37)? How does Jesus describe His relationship with His Father at the end of John 10:38? What did they seek in John 10:39? What happened? Where did Jesus go in John 10:40? Who came to Him there (John 10:41)? What did they say? What did they do (John 10:42)? 
In the Gospel reading this week, we find people who cannot save themselves and others who cannot be stopped from being saved.

First, those who cannot save themselves. The Jews’ unbelief is so hard and sad. Jesus has told them plainly who He is—and then when He tells them again, they want to kill Him! Notice, by the way, that Jesus does not deny their charges of what He is claiming about Himself. He simply attests that His claims are true! He has even done works—works that John the Baptizer hadn’t displayed—that prove that He and His Father are One. But they still can’t believe.

But then there are those whose salvation cannot be stopped. We know why. When they hear Jesus’s voice, they know Him, and He knows them. He gives them eternal life. No one can snatch them out of His hand. He gives them eternal life, because His Father was the One who gave them to Him. No one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Their salvation goes all the way back into God Himself—how can anything in all creation and time ever undo that?!

Therefore, even though there was just recently a very public attempt on His life, they are glad to come to Him and believe in Him.
If salvation starts in God Himself, what does that mean for your own salvation? 
Suggested songs: ARP23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome…”

Thursday, March 7, 2019

2019.03.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 4:8-15

Questions for Littles: What four things have happened to the apostle and his companions in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9? What four accompanying results have not ended up happening? What are they carrying about (2 Corinthians 4:10)? How often? For what reason—what does this display in them? What are they currently doing (2 Corinthians 4:11a)? But what is always happening to them? What does this display in their mortal flesh (verse 11b, cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10)? In whom else, then, does the life of Jesus operate (2 Corinthians 4:12)? Why do the apostle and his companions speak (2 Corinthians 4:13)? Who has been raised (2 Corinthians 4:14a)? Who will be raised (verse 14b)? With whom (verse 14c)? What spreads through each one for whom this life and this resurrection and this future are true 
(2 Corinthians 4:15)? What does this cause to abound? Unto what end is all of this thanksgiving?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn why it is so important that the “victorious Christian life” be lived in the midst of much trouble and suffering: precisely because it is gaining the victory.

When the victory is gained in this manner, it is obvious that the excellence of the power is of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7). When the victory is gained by those who are being displayed as under a death sentence (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10), it is obvious that the life that is in them is not actually from them but from someone else (2 Corinthians 4:10-11). When the victory is gained by those who are being displayed as under a death sentence, it is obvious that the life that comes through them to others is not actually from them but from someone else (2 Corinthians 4:12). And when the victory is gained not by escaping death but by passing through it and conquering it, it is obvious that the unendable life that results comes from the same place as Jesus’s own resurrection.

Well, when we receive something that is not at all from ourselves but entirely from Someone else, this produces not just thanksgiving but abounding thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15). And when thanksgiving to God abounds in this fashion, this further glorifies God! This is the joy of the believer—to bring glory to the God who has given him life out of death in Jesus Christ!!
What troubles and inabilities currently complicate your life? If you are a Christian, then Whose life is the Lord especially displaying in you in these particular situations? If you are not, then why should you expect ultimately to fail? What is the right response of seeing that Jesus’s life is our only life and power?
Suggested songs: ARP66A “O All the Earth” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

2019.03.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 18-19

Questions for Littles: Who are gathered at Shiloh in Joshua 18:1? What do they set up there? What has been done to the land? What does Joshua 18:2 say still needs to happen? With what question does Joshua challenge them in Joshua 18:3? What command does he give them in Joshua 18:4? Which tribes are already the southern and northern “bookends” of Israel (Joshua 18:5)? Once the land is divided into seven parts, how will it be decided which tribe gets which part (Joshua 18:6)? Before Whom is the lot cast? Who is the first to be mentioned that they will not get one of these seven regions in Joshua 18:7? Why not—what do they get instead? Who else do not get one of these seven regions? Why not? Who gave their inheritance to them? What command is given a third time in Joshua 18:8? To whom, specifically, is it given this time? What process does Joshua 18:9 summarize? What happened after this process in Joshua 18:10? Whose lot came up first (Joshua 18:11)? Second (Joshua 19:1)? Third (Joshua 19:10)? Fourth (Joshua 19:17)? Fifth (Joshua 19:24)? Sixth (Joshua 19:32)? Seventh (Joshua 19:40)? Who else receives an inheritance in Joshua 19:49? How was this inheritance selected (Joshua 19:50)? Where and in front of whom were these inheritances divided (Joshua 19:51)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, although not all of the Canaanites have been driven out, the war is over. The land is subdued. The problem is that there are seven tribes that have not yet received their inheritance.

Surprisingly, Joshua tells them that it is their fault. His triple-repeated command to survey the land and identify the borders of seven regions carries with it the implication that this is something that they should have done by now. The first repetition is the strongest, “How long will you neglect…?”

In other words, since God has promised it to them, faith would have acted upon that promise, and their inaction is actually indicative of some measure of unbelief.

Of course, although faith acts, its hope is not in its action but in the Lord upon the basis of whose Word the action is taken, and before Whom the action is taken, and unto Whom the actors look for the blessing of the action.

That’s the point of the casting of lots—not that it is random… in fact, exactly the opposite! All of this is done before the Lord. In this particular case, it is done at the tabernacle. That place of intersection between God and man. That place that John 1 tells us was ultimately fulfilled when the Word became flesh and tabernacle among us!
What has Jesus earned for you to receive? What has Jesus earned to be done to you first in order to receive it? What are Jesus’s means by which He does this for you? From where do you receive your instruction for doing these things? Before Whom do you do these things? Unto whom do you look for their blessing? What does all of that look like?
Suggested songs: ARP119B “How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019.03.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 20:8-11

Questions for Littles: What is the first word/command in Exodus 20:8? Which particular day is it that we are to remember? For what purpose are we to remember it? In order to keep the Sabbath holy, on which days should we have it in mind (Exodus 20:9)? To Whom does the Sabbath belong (Exodus 20:10)? How much work should we do on it?  Who else should not work on it? What else should not work on it? What explanation does Exodus 20:11 give for the pattern of “six and one”? What did the Lord create? How much of it? How long did He take to do this? What did He do on the seventh day? What two things did the Lord do to the Sabbath day?  
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin all came from Exodus 20:8-11.

Remember. Ironically, one of the things that we tend to forget about the fourth commandment is that it begins with a command to “remember.” Why would we need such a command? Because of our tendency/likelihood to forget. And because of the necessity of remembering the day if we are actually going to keep holy the day.

Sabbath. It literally means stopping. Yes, we gloss this meaning with the word “rest,” but at its fundamental core, it means to stop. Of course, we cannot quit everything. So, it must be that there are specific things that we are to stop in order to do other things.

Day. We know what a day is by Exodus 20. In fact, we know what a day is by the end of Genesis 1:5. 24 hours. It is not the Sabbath hour. Or the Sabbath morning. Or the Sabbath exercises. It is an entire day that is to be remembered. And an entire day that is to be kept.

Keep. Guard. Observe. Defend. Follow through with. The word has all of these meanings in this context. Remembering the stopping day is not so much about what may not be done on that day, but about what must be done on that day. It’s not about what the day is against but what the day is for.

Holy. This is what the day is for. Being separated from all other uses and consecrated unto God. This is what we remember on the other six days. This is why we must not permit anyone else to work for us or near us upon that day.

Blessed (Exodus 20:11). It almost goes without saying. Can there be anything more blessed than to set aside the creation to spend a day attending upon the Creator Himself? This is, literally, the ultimate blessing!
When are you to remember the Sabbath? How are you to do this? Why?
Suggested songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or TPH153 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

Monday, March 4, 2019

2019.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 6:6-12

Questions for Littles: Who is “sorry” in Genesis 6:6? What is He sorry about? How else does verse 6 say He was sorry? What does the Lord say in Genesis 6:7? What did Noah find in Genesis 6:8? Where did he find this grace? What does Genesis 6:9 say was begotten of Noah—what kind of man was he? What was he “in his generations”? What did he do? What does Genesis 6:10 say was begotten of Noah? Before whom was the earth corrupt (Genesis 6:11)? With what was it filled? Who looked upon the earth (Genesis 6:12)? What did He see? Who had corrupted their way on the earth? 
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we find something strange. Yahweh is sorry and grieved in His heart. Now, we know that the Lord doesn’t have a body and doesn’t change His mind. Even stranger, in Genesis 6:7, the Lord says that He will destroy man and that He is “sorry” that He made man. To whom is He speaking? Just like when we saw the Lord “rest” on the seventh day, or “walk” in the cool of the evening, we know that this is a manner of speaking for our benefit. He is teaching us that He responds in a perfectly holy and righteous way to our sin.

Now, when we think about it, these may be a strange-sounding way of telling us about it, but what the passage is telling us so far is not that strange. The holy and righteous God should destroy all sinners! That makes Genesis 6:8-9 the truly strange verses in this passage. How could Noah find grace in Yahweh’s eyes? And how can it be that Noah was a just man? That he was perfect in his generations? That he walked with God?

Ultimately, the answer has already been revealed in Genesis. God has promised that there will be offspring of the woman. In fact, He has promised that there will be one specific Seed who crushes the serpent’s head.

So, on the one hand, Noah has to survive, because from him, Jesus must descend.

And, on the other hand, Noah can in fact survive, precisely because his descendant Jesus would satisfy the holiness and righteousness of God on his behalf.

Grace finds Noah. Grace credits Noah with righteousness for the sake of Christ. Grace transforms Noah—not because Noah deserves it, or because Noah has any ability in himself, but because Jesus deserves it, and Jesus has the power in Him.
What do you deserve? Who deserves different? What has He done for you? 
Suggested Songs: ARP32 “What Blessedness” or TPH130A “Lord, from the Depths”