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Saturday, September 14, 2019

2019.09.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 18:16-19

Questions from the Scripture text: Who rise in Genesis 18:16? Where do they look? Who goes with them? To do what? Who speaks in Genesis 18:17? What question does He ask? What will Abraham become (Genesis 18:18)? Who will be blessed in him? What has Yahweh done to Abraham (Genesis 18:19)? So that Abraham might do what? To whom? What is Abraham to command them to do? What will Yahweh bring about through this? 
It is an extraordinary blessing to have the Word of God.

Here, the Lord’s reasoning for revealing His plans to Abraham is that Abraham is the earthly representative of the covenant of grace at this time, and indeed has an unique place in the covenant of grace throughout history. He is the one through whom blessing shall come to all the nations of the earth. And he himself shall surely become a great and mighty nation.

Also, when the Lord highlights the great privileges of Israel, he lists first (“chiefly”) among them that they have the sayings of God (Romans 3:2, cf. Romans 9:4). And this blessing has come down, now, to the church.

For, it is the church that has received the fullness of God’s Word, given by God to Christ and given by Christ to the apostles, and completed for the apostles by the ministry of the Spirit (cf. John 16:12-15; John 17:6-8John 17:13-20).

Of course, with great privileges come great responsibility. Abraham’s unique relationship with the Lord (I have known Him) demands a response (that he may command his children and his household after him).

He is to lead his household—with a special focus upon his children—to “keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice.” Of course, this must begin with faith—as we have seen since at least Genesis 15:6 and, really, ever since chapter 12. But using the double word (righteousness and justice) presses us to include not only righteous standing through faith in Christ, but also righteous living that is the fruit of that same faith in Christ.

In fact, the Scripture says that this was a means by which Yahweh would “bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” The Lord has not only a specific Savior by whom we are saved; He has also a specific mechanism through which He carries out His plan to bring the Savior into a sinful world, and to bring sinners to the Savior. As He sustains us in following His ways, He uses that way to bring us, and our children, and as many as will join us, into a life of dependence upon Jesus and also devotion to Jesus.
What is the way by which the Lord has planned to bring you what He has spoken to you?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

Friday, September 13, 2019

2019.09.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 17:11-19

Questions from the Scripture text: Where is Jesus not going to be when He goes to the Father (John 17:11)? Where are His disciples going to be? What does He call His Father here? What does He ask God to do to whom? Through what? With what result? Who has been doing this until now (John 17:12)? What does Jesus call them in verse 12? Who was lost? Why? Where does Jesus speak these words (John 17:13)? Why—so they can have what in themselves? What has Jesus given them (John 17:14)? What has the world done to them? Why? Who else is not of the world? What doesn’t Jesus pray according to John 17:15? What does He pray? What two things does He repeat in John 17:16? What does Jesus ask His Father to do in John 17:17? How? Who sent Whom into the world in John 17:18a? Who sent whom into the world in verse 18b? What does Jesus do to Himself in John 17:19? For whose sake? So that what would happen to them?
Jesus is speaking prospectively here about when He comes to the Father. In John 16:16-28, He had described this departure as the occasion which would enable them to see Him better than ever, and to have joy that no one can take from them, and to have it fully. O the joy of those who see Jesus by faith through His words as given by His Spirit in the Scriptures, and applied by His Spirit to our hearts!

But His followers must remain in the world in which they will have trouble. And just as Jesus says that they will be praying for that joy in the midst of that trouble (John 16:23-26John 16:33), so now in chapter 17, Jesus is giving us His own model of how He prays for us.

He prays for us based upon who His Father is: Holy Father.

He prays for us that which His Father alone can do: keep them through Your Name.

He prays for us based upon God’s choosing: those whom You have given Me.

He prays for us based upon His own power: I have kept, and none of them is lost.

He prays for us that we would hear His words: these things I speak in the world.

He prays for us that we would have His joy: that they may have My joy fulfilled.

He prays for us that we would have His word: I have given them Your word.

He prays that it would make us holy: Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

He prays for us that we would be kept from the evil one.

He prays for us based upon His own consecrating Himself unto death: for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

God grant that we would learn to pray just God-devoted, joy-desiring, Scripture-driven, holiness-developing, Christ-dependent prayers! And God grant that He would answer not only us, but our Lord Jesus who perfectly prays in this way for us!
How have you been growing in your praying? How will you grow in your praying?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH412 “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

2019.09.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 2:17-21

Questions from the Scripture text: By what (Whom!) do Christians seek to be justified (Galatians 2:17)? What are we still found to be? What did Paul’s opponents say that this would mean about Christ? How does the apostle answer that? What does Galatians 2:18 say it would do to ourselves if we go back to being justified by works? To what does a Christian die (Galatians 2:19)? To Whom does a Christian live? What has happened to a Christian with Christ (Galatians 2:20a)? Who no longer lives? Who does live? By what is such a life lived? What has the Son of God done? What would we be setting aside to say that righteousness comes through the law (Galatians 2:21)? What then would have been in vain?
The apostle’s opponents slanderously reported that he taught, “let us do evil that good may come” (cf. Romans 3:7-8). They claimed that if being right with God comes only through depending upon Jesus, then this makes Jesus somehow responsible for the sin that we continue to commit. It’s a common charge, even today: “Oh, I can’t really believe in Christ, because those who hold to that idea do bad things.”

But just as law-keeping can’t make us right with God, it also can’t make us able to obey God. Ability to obey can only come from Jesus Christ. If we say that only Jesus Christ can make us right with God, but that somehow law-keeping can make us able to keep God’s law, we “rebuild what we destroyed” in order to trust in Jesus in the first place. And if we do that, we pull the rug right out from under our ability to grow in holiness.

Growth in holiness only comes by living unto God (Galatians 2:19). Growth in holiness comes only by Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20). Growth in holiness comes only by living in dependence upon Jesus (verse 20). Growth in holiness can come in this way only because Jesus loved me first and gave Himself for me in every way—including that I might grow in holiness (verse 20).

If we are going to say that our law-keeping makes us able to keep the law, we might as well say that Jesus died for no reason. It’s just as irrational as saying that our law-keeping could make us right with God—you can’t start by grace and continue by works (Galatians 2:21).

The problem is that it’s not just Pharisees and Judaizers that say this. We might disagree with the doctrine, but still easily slide into feeling like “things are going to go better with my walk now, because of how determined I am, or because I understand better what the law requires in this or that situation, or because I’ve set up these boundaries to make sure that I keep that part of God’s law.”
Commitment, and understanding, and even good plans are good. But they are not what enables law-keeping. Only the life of Christ in us that we may live unto God can enable that law-keeping. What we need most of all, for holy living, is to joyously cling to the One who has loved us and has given Himself to BE our life!
By what habits do you rejoice in Jesus’s love for you and Jesus’s life in you?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

2019.09.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 14

Read Judges 14
Questions from the Scripture text: Where does Samson go in Judges 14:1? What does he see? Where does he go in Judges 14:2? To whom does he speak? What does he ask of them? What do his parents suggest instead (Judges 14:3)? What reason does Samson give? From Whom, ultimately, did this grief come (Judges 14:4)? What was Yahweh doing against the Philistines? Why? Where did Samson go in Judges 14:5? With whom? What comes against him? Who comes upon him in Judges 14:6? What does he do to the lion? Whom does he not tell?  To whom does he speak in Judges 14:7? What note is repeated from verse 3? Where does he go for what purpose, after some time (Judges 14:8)? What does he turn aside to see? What does he find in the lion’s carcass? What does he do with the honey in Judges 14:9? What does he not tell his parents? Who goes down to the woman in Judges 14:10? What does Samson do? Whom do the Philistines bring (Judges 14:11)? What challenge does Samson make in Judges 14:12-13? How do the Philistines do at first (Judges 14:14)? What strategy do they follow in Judges 14:15? What does the wife do—and keep doing—for how long in Judges 14:16-17? How does Samson respond to their guess (Judges 14:18)? Who comes upon Samson in Judges 14:19? What does he do? What happens with the wife (Judges 14:20)?
I wonder if you ever thought, perhaps with Samson himself, that the secret of his strength came from his hair. That’s certainly not the impression that we get from paying attention to his feats of strength.

It is not the hairy scalp but the Holy Spirit who is the key to Samson’s strength. Judges 13:25 had told us that the Spirit of Yahweh began to move upon Samson. Now, Judges 14:6 and Judges 14:19 give us two instances of the Spirit of Yahweh rushing upon him. In one case, he tears a roaring lion apart like he might could do to a baby goat, and in the other he takes on and kills thirty Philistines.

And we seem to be the only ones to know what is going on. The text implies what was surely a source of despair for Mr. and Mrs. Manoah. Their son is hung up on the Philistine girl from Timnah, but they don’t know that it is from Yahweh. No one knows about the lion or the honey (by both of which this “Nazirite” was defiled). Samson doesn’t know about his wife’s secret plot. The wife (whose name we don’t know) weeps for days over what she doesn’t know, because she wants to tell the Timnah-supplied groomsmen (whom Samson doesn’t really know) what they don’t know.

It’s like trying to sort out the significance (or even the reality) of what we heard or read in the news. Our heads begin spinning—who knows anything at all? Answer: Yahweh knows, because Yahweh is working a salvation that His people didn’t even ask for this time around; He just wasn’t willing to tolerate their oppression any longer (Judges 14:4).
What does the Lord know about your life? What is He doing about it for Jesus’s sake?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

2019.09.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 72

Read Psalm 72
Questions from the Scripture text: Whose Psalm was this? What did he want God to give to the king (Psalm 72:1a)? To the king’s Son (verse 1b)? Whom would the king judge with what (Psalm 72:2a and 2b)? And what would respond by imitating Him (Psalm 72:3a and 3b)? What kinds of people would He especially help and oppose (Psalm 72:4, Psalm 72:12-14)? How long would His kingdom have this impact (Psalm 72:5)? How great would be His effect upon the people (Psalm 72:6-7)? And for how long (verse 7c, Psalm 72:17)? How large would His kingdom be (Psalm 72:8)? Whom would it include (Psalm 72:9-11)? What prophecy, in particular is fulfilled about Him (verse 9b)? What will be done for Him (Psalm 72:15)? And how will creation respond (Psalm 72:16)? What is the ultimate result of the kingdom described in this Psalm (Psalm 72:18-19)? Of what is this Psalm a summary and climax (Psalm 72:20)?
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 Psalm 72:20 causes us to consider it a great climax in the Psalter, and that Psalm 72:18-19 causes 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. Psalm 72:9 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, September 9, 2019

2019.09.14 Hopewell Harbinger

Hopewell This Week, September 9-14

Follow up on the past Lord's Day
Hopwell @Home is available as a pdf.
▫The recording is online of the morning sermon from Genesis 18:1-15, God's Strength Magnified by Sarah's Weakness Clarified
▫The recording is online of the afternoon exhortation from Galatians 2:17-21, Dying in Christ's Death, Living by Christ's Life, Loving by Christ's Love


Pray for and participate in what's going on this week
Prayer Meeting, Wednesday, 6:30p.m. 
Elders’ Meeting, Thursday, 6:00p.m.
▫Men’s Breakfast, Saturday, 6:30a.m.
Congregational work day this Saturday!


Prepare for next Lord's Day (Sep 15)
Children’s Catechism
Q. 139. Will He come again? A. Yes; at the last day Christ will come to judge the world.
Shorter Catechism (Poster PDF)
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him? A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

Songs for September 15: 
TPH238 "Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee" 
ARP91 "Who with God Most High Finds Shelter" 
TPH128B "Blest the Man that Fears Jehovah"

A.M. Sermon Text: Genesis 18:16-19
P.M. Exhortation Text: Galatians 3:1-5
Lord's Supper in morning worship. (Guide to taking it)

▫Memory Verse (Poster PDF)
(Genesis 18:19For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.

2019.09.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 18:1-15

Questions from the Scripture text: Who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18:1? By where? What was Abraham doing? Where? What time of day was it? What did Abraham lift in Genesis 18:2? What did he see? What did he do when he saw them? What did he do when he met them? What does he call the three men in Genesis 18:3? What does he ask Him/Them not to do? What does Abraham call himself? What does he propose to bring in Genesis 18:4? So they can do what? What does Abraham propose to bring in Genesis 18:5? To do what? What does he call himself again? In what manner did Abraham go to Sarah in Genesis 18:6? In what manner does he tell her to make cakes? In what manner did Abraham go to the herd in Genesis 18:7? What does he take? In what manner does he prepare it? What else does Abraham take in Genesis 18:8? What does he do as they eat? Who is speaking to him in Genesis 18:9? What do they ask? What does he answer? Who is speaking in Genesis 18:10? What does He say He will do? What does He say Sarah will have, when He returns? What was Sarah doing and where? What does Genesis 18:11 comment about Abraham and Sarah’s age? What point does it make about Sarah’s physical condition? What does Sarah do in Genesis 18:12? Where does she laugh? What does she ask? Who is speaking in Genesis 18:13? What does He ask? What further question does He ask in Genesis 18:14? What does He then repeat? Who answers in Genesis 18:15? Against Whom does she now argue? What does He do/say?
After thirteen years between the previous two recorded appearances to Abraham, Yahweh appears to him again after just three months. Interestingly—at least until the issue of Sodom’s destruction arises—Sarah seems to be the focus of this visit. Half of our text is spent on Abraham’s earnestness to receive and serve the Lord.

But when the Lord Himself finally brings up His own subject of conversation, it is all about “Sarah your wife” (Genesis 18:9Genesis 18:10). And the comments in the narrative are primarily about Sarah—her activity (listening), her location ( tent door), her medical status (passed the age of childbearing), and even her inner attitude (laughed within herself) and thoughts (after I have grown old, etc.).

Of course, Sarah doesn’t do very well for herself. Her laughter does not occur on her face before the Lord, worshiping in the Romans-4-affirmed, non-wavering faith. It is a laughter to be ashamed of (for she was afraid), and comes from the same dysfunctional heart that proceeds to start an argument with Yahweh (I did not laugh)!

The effect of this is to answer the question that Genesis 18:14 puts before us (is anything too hard for Yahweh?) with a resounding, “No!” Not only is He strong enough to give Sarah’s dead body the ability to bear a child, but He is strong enough to give sinners’ dead hearts the ability to believe in THE child who would eventually come from her, Jesus Christ!
What difficult circumstance are you in? In it, how is your own heart a greater difficulty?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount”