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Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019.03.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 7:7-24

Questions for Littles: Where did Noah go in Genesis 7:7? Who went with him? Because of what? What else went with him (Genesis 7:8)? How did they enter (Genesis 7:9)? Why was it done this way? What happened after seven days (Genesis 7:10)? How does Genesis 7:11 make it plain that this is an historical event? How does it emphasize Noah’s actual age at the time? What does this tell us about other men’s ages of this period, which were similar to Noah’s? How long did it rain (Genesis 7:12)? What does Genesis 7:13-15 emphasize about how long it took to enter the ark? Who are named in Genesis 7:13? What else entered with them (Genesis 7:14)? How did they come onto the ark (Genesis 7:15)? What was in them? Who had commanded this (Genesis 7:16)? Who shut them all in the ark? How long did it rain (Genesis 7:17)? What did the increased waters do to the ark? Where did it rise? What does Genesis 7:18 say about the waters? What did the ark do in verse 18? What does Genesis 7:19 say about the waters? What were covered? What does Genesis 7:20 say about the waters? What were covered? Which flesh is first mentioned as dying in Genesis 7:21? Who are mentioned last in verse 21? What body part does Genesis 7:22 mention? Of what does this remind us (cf. Genesis 2:7)?  How does Genesis 7:23 restate Genesis 7:21-22? What does it add at the end? What does Genesis 7:24 say about the waters? How long did they prevail, before they even began to recede?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, there is much focus upon water level. On the one hand, the text makes it clearly, laughably impossible that this could have been a local flood. On the other hand, this takes us back to the first day of creation, where the earth was covered by the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

Genesis 7:11 takes us back to day 2, that entire day that was spent on the raquiya (firmament), and now a window is being opened in it, and the protection and restraint is being removed.

Genesis 7:14, with its repeated mention of “after its kind,” takes us back to days 5 and 6 with not just the land animals but the birds perishing.

Genesis 7:22 takes us back to day 6 by the specific mention of nostrils, the only other mention of which in Genesis is Genesis 2:7, where God had breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life.

In a sense, the flood is being described here as the uncreation. But the original is not entirely lost. Noah, and those who were with him, were participants in this original creation. We have here the beginning of a theme that will last throughout Scripture—the theme of a “remnant.” The Lord repeatedly shows the greatness of His mercy and saving power to some by carrying out justice with others.
Who are perishing now? Who are being saved now? How are they being saved?
Suggested Songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

Friday, March 29, 2019

2019.03.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 11:17-32

Questions for Littles: Who “came” in John 11:17? What did He find? How long had Lazarus been in the tomb? What city was Bethany near (John 11:18)? How far? Who had joined the women around Mary and Martha (John 11:19)? For what purpose? What did Martha hear (John 11:20)? What did she do? Where was Mary? What does Martha say to Jesus in John 11:21? What does she say that she knows in John 11:22? What does this imply that God would do to Lazarus now, if Jesus asked? What does Jesus tell her will happen in John 11:23? When does Martha say that she knows that this will happen in John 11:24? What does Jesus say about Himself in John 11:25? What does He say about those who believe into Him? What additional information does Jesus provide in John 11:26? What question does He ask? What does she answer that she believes about Him in John 11:27?  Whom does she go get in John 11:28? How soon does Mary come (John 11:29)? Where was Jesus (John 11:30)? Who saw Mary get up to go to Jesus (John 11:31)? Where did they think she was going? To do what? What does Mary do, when she arrives at Jesus (John 11:32)? What does she say to Him?
In the Gospel reading this week, Martha “claims for herself the better thing”—going immediately to be with Jesus. She does not seem to remember even her also-grieving sister. She expresses excellent faith in Christ.

She knows that if He was there that Lazarus would not have died. On the one hand, this sounds unbelieving with regard to Jesus’s power, since He does not need to be nearby in order to save someone. But it is also very similar to what Jesus Himself implied in John 11:15. This is faith not only in His power but in His love.

Also, she knows that Lazarus will not stay dead even now. True, it sounds like she is missing the fact that Jesus is God. But that might actually be part of her confession in John 11:27 since he who is son of man is man, and He who is Son of God is God, and since she uses language that refers to Christ as existing before His life on earth. She grieves as someone who has true hope. At the very least, she knows that her brother will rise again at the last day.

More importantly, she knows that whatever Jesus says or promises about Himself is absolutely true. Her answer in verse 27 is not symmetrical to Jesus’s statement and question in John 11:25-26. That would have been for her to answer, “Yes, I believe that You are the resurrection. Yes, I believe that You are the life. Yes, I believe that You raise the dead. Yes, I believe that those who trust in You will never die.” Instead, her answer is that she believes that He is the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.

This is what the Lord Jesus is doing here: not just revealing specific powers or abilities or characteristics—but that His purpose is to reveal Himself, to display Himself to us that we might believe about Him all of the things that He ever says or shows us about Himself!
What are some things that Jesus has revealed about Himself in the Bible? Do you believe Him?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH280 “Wondrous King”

Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019.03.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 5:9-21

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle aim at, whether present in the body or absent from the body (2 Corinthians 5:9)? Where must we all appear (2 Corinthians 5:10)? What will we do there? According to what will we receive? What did the apostle know (2 Corinthians 5:11)? How did the apostle respond to that terror? To whom was he well known (i.e. as one who would receive good at the judgment seat)? Whom else did he trust could see that? According to 2 Corinthians 5:12, why was he reminding the Corinthians of that? What did others boast about? What did he want them to boast about? If others thought they were crazy, who would be glorified anyway (2 Corinthians 5:13a)? If others thought they were wise, whom would this help (2 Corinthians 5:13b)? What compels (constrains!) the apostle (2 Corinthians 5:14a)? Who died in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14b)? So, if the “us” that lived for ourselves is dead, for whom does the “new” us live (2 Corinthians 5:15)? What believers do we regard according to what they were before Christ’s resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:16)? Whom else do we not regard according to His pre-resurrection status? Where can we already see the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17a)? How certain is it that this work will be finished (2 Corinthians 5:17b)? From Whom has all of this come (2 Corinthians 5:18a)? How has He accomplished this (2 Corinthians 5:18b, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19ab)? And how is He applying this accomplished work (2 Corinthians 5:18c, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19c)? What does the reconciliation-applying ministry of the Word sound like in 2 Corinthians 5:20? What did God do to Christ in order to reconcile us (2 Corinthians 5:21a)? What does God do to us in order to reconcile us (2 Corinthians 5:21b)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we find the working out in the apostle’s life of his confidence that he will at last come to a full experience of Christ’s glory in the resurrection. He knows the terror of the Lord—what it would be like for him if he appeared at the judgment outside of Jesus and having done no works of faith at all. And this has a profound effect upon him in two different ways.

First, it means that he doesn’t belong to himself. The self that belonged to him died at the cross. The self that lives now belongs to Jesus and is constrained by the love of Jesus.

Second, if Jesus’s love is pressing him into all that he does, the knowledge of the judgment makes him all the more urgent with sinners—not so much desiring their favor as he is hoping that the Lord will give them spiritual life so that they will come to view his faith in Jesus as the display of a truly sound mind.

How does Jesus bring them to such life and faith? By the ministry of the Word of reconciliation. What does that ministry look like? Pleading. Imploring. Earnest speech declaring the wonderful reconciliation of God to sinners in Christ, and urging sinners therefore to trust in Christ, die with Christ, be forgiven in Christ, rise with Christ, live for Christ, and behold the glory of Christ!
What would it look like for your life to be compelled by the love of Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH465 “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2019.03.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 21

Read Joshua 21
Questions for Littles: Whose heads of fathers’ houses came near in Joshua 21:1? To whom did they come near? Where did they speak to them (Joshua 21:2)? Of what did they remind them that Yahweh had commanded? Who give the Levites cities and common lands in Joshua 21:3? From what did they give these cities and common lands? How does Joshua 21:4 tell us that these decisions are being made—what “came out” for the families of the Kohathites? Which Kohathites are mentioned first? Among which three tribes were they given cities and lands? Where else do Joshua 21:9-11 and Joshua 21:13-19 tell us that these same families received cities and lands? With whom did this make them near neighbors (Joshua 21:12)? Which families’ cities are named in Joshua 21:20-26? Which families’ names are named in Joshua 21:27-33? Which families’ cities are named in Joshua 21:34-40? What did these cities all come with (cf. Joshua 21:41-42)? How much of the promised land did Yahweh give to Israel (Joshua 21:43)? To whom had He sworn that this would happen? What had they now done at this point? What did Yahweh give them all around (Joshua 21:44a)? According to what had He done this? Who had been able to stand against them? Who had delivered their enemies into their hand? What had not failed (Joshua 21:45)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, the Levites do NOT receive their inheritance. The book of Joshua has repeatedly reminded us that the inheritance of the Levites is the Lord Himself and His worship. When the Lord now takes care of all of their other needs He is displaying His own faithfulness to keep every Word and His own goodness to attend to all our needs. So, in a sense, what they are receiving is not the inheritance but the experience of how gloriously good that inheritance is—the Lord Himself!

In a sense, there is a reminder here that, according to God’s command, the Lord is the ultimate inheritance not only of the Levites but of all of His people. He spreads the Levites throughout the land, in all of the territories of His people, thereby spreading the display and experience of His own presence among His people.

He gives His people the privilege of giving of their own inheritance to provide for the Levites (and therefore the display and experience of God’s presence). He still does that for us today—giving us the privilege of participating in the earthly maintenance of those through whose ministries He especially draws near to us. As He does so, He keeps reminding us that the very good blessings that He gives us in this life are not our ultimate inheritance, but that He Himself is our ultimate inheritance!

Finally, the chapter concludes with what is the great theme of the entire book: not one word of Yahweh has fallen (Joshua 21:45, literally). The Word of Yahweh is so closely identified with Him that it is completely and perfectly reliable just as He is. Dear believer, you can count on it!
What difference does it make if God is Your greatest possession and delight? What are some words of promise that you have from God that will not fall?
Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019.03.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 26:1-9

Questions for Littles: When God makes a feast for all peoples in Zion (cf. Isaiah 25), where will a song be sung in Isaiah 26:1? What do the people sing that they have? What does God provide, that functions as “walls and bulwarks” for them? What do they ask to have opened in Isaiah 26:2? What kind of nation enters in? What does this nation keep? Whom does the Lord keep in perfect peace—on what is his mind focused, and in whom does he trust (Isaiah 26:3)? In whom does Isaiah 26:4 teach us to trust? What does versse 4 call Him (cf. footnote)? What does He do to those who are lifted up/proud (Isaiah 26:5)? How far down does He ultimately bring them in verse 5? What happens to them when they are brought down to the dust (Isaiah 26:6)? Who does this to them? What is the way of the just in Isaiah 26:7? What name does this verse call God? Whose path does He level out for them? Where have Yahweh’s people waited for Him (Isaiah 26:8)? What is the desire of their soul? At what times, particularly, has the prophet desired the Lord (Isaiah 26:9)? What will the inhabitants of the world learn when the judgments of Yahweh are displayed upon the earth? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin all came from Isaiah 26:1-9. This was so that when we sang together for the opening of Zion’s gates for us to enter and see the Lord, we would see that we are singing the thoughts of God after Him.

And it is He Himself who is the beauty of Zion. In this passage we see the strength of God. His salvation is the protection and strength of the city (Isaiah 26:1), and He Himself is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4).

In this passage, we see the mercy of God. In the context of Isaiah, it is marvelous that there is such a thing as a righteous nation that remains faithful. But that is because these things may be had through trusting in the Lord (Isaiah 26:3-4).

In this passage, we see the faithfulness of God. He is the One who keeps His people in perfect peace.

In this passage, we see the justice of God. He lays low the proud and lifts up the humble, preparing a proper path for them to walk in.

In this passage, we see that God is satisfying. He fulfills the desires of His people not merely by providing them other things, but by providing Himself as the fulfilment of their desires.
What impact does God’s strength have on you? His mercy? His faithfulness? etc.
Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH163 “Open Now Thy Gates”

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019.03.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 7:1-6

Questions for Littles: Who speaks in Genesis 7:1? To whom is He speaking? Where does He tell him to come? Who has seen [to it!] that Noah is righteous? Before Whom is Noah righteous? How many pairs of each clean animal is Noah to take (Genesis 7:2)? How many unclean? How many pairs each of the birds (Genesis 7:3)? What reason does verse 3 give? How many more days at this point until God acts (Genesis 7:4)? What is God going to make happen? For how long? What determined what Noah would do (Genesis 7:5)? How much of what was commanded did Noah do? How old was Noah when the floodwaters came on the earth (Genesis 7:6)?
In the Scripture for this week’s sermon, the Holy Spirit points out to us several things about Noah’s salvation from the flood that teach us about our own salvation from Hell—and, ultimately, He teaches us about Jesus, our Savior.

First, we learn that God provides righteousness to Noah. It seems obvious that Noah is different, and that Yahweh has chosen him to be saved and to save humanity, but Yahweh underscores this for him: “I have seen (provided!) that you are righteous before Me.” This is no small righteousness. This is righteousness before the eyes of the Holy, Holy, Holy God—before Him whose eyes are too holy to look upon evil, and who dwells in unapproachable light. This can only be God’s own righteousness. And so only God can provide it. And, we know that it only comes by believing into Jesus.

Next, we learn that worship is the purpose of Noah’s salvation. There is a minimum of seven—probably 14—of every clean animal here. What are they there for? Not eating (yet, Genesis 9:3-4). For the eight of Noah, life is literally over-complicated and over-crowded with worship. The Lord is making it very clear to him (and to us) why they (and we) are being saved: for the worship of God. This points us to Jesus in two ways: first, the ultimate meaning of these sacrifices is not that God delights in roast meat but that God delights in His Son and His Son’s obedience. When we believe into Jesus, God’s delight in Jesus includes us.

Finally, we learn that we are unworthy of salvation. There is a seven-day-long drumroll as they sit in the ark, on the ground, waiting for everything to begin. The perishing people on the outside, and the animals that exist to perish as sacrifices on the inside, are a testimony to them of what they deserve. They are like the thieves on the cross—reminding us that the pouring out of God’s wrath upon Christ is a display of what we deserve and would suffer forever, if we do not believe into Him.
Why do you need Jesus to be your righteousness? Why does God save sinners? How should your unworthiness to be saved make you feel toward Jesus? How should it make you feel toward others?
Suggested Songs: ARP130A “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”