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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

2020.07.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Read 1 Samuel 14:1–23

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Jonathan say to whom (1 Samuel 14:1a)? Whom did he not tell? Where was Saul, and whom did he have with him (1 Samuel 14:2)? What person is especially highlighted in 1 Samuel 14:3? What topographical feature do 1 Samuel 14:4-5 highlight? What does Jonathan call the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14:6? What does he propose doing? What is his reasoning? How does the armor bearer respond in 1 Samuel 14:7? What does Jonathan propose as a sign (1 Samuel 14:8-10? What does this “sign” ensure will be the result, regardless of where it actually happens? How do the Philistines respond (1 Samuel 14:11-12a)? What does Jonathan conclude (verse 12b)? What do he and his armor bearer do in 1 Samuel 14:13-14? How do the Philistines respond to their initial loss (1 Samuel 14:5)? Who notice this (1 Samuel 14:6)? What does Saul want to know in 1 Samuel 14:7? What does Saul decide to do first (1 Samuel 14:8)? Now what does he decide in 1 Samuel 14:9? What did they see at the battle in 1 Samuel 14:20? Whom do we now find out were in the Philistine army (1 Samuel 14:21a)? But what do they now do (verse 21b)? Who else joins up in 1 Samuel 14:22? How does 1 Samuel 14:23 summarize what happened so far in this chapter?
“Nothing restrains Yahweh from saving by many or by few.” Here is Jonathan’s statement of faith.

He and his armorbearer are a stark contrast to Saul and Ahijah. Saul’s kingship has been rejected by God (1 Samuel 13:13–14), and so has Ahijah’s priesthood (1 Samuel 14:3, cf. 1 Samuel 2:34–36, 1 Samuel 4:21–22). So while the lame ducks sit under a pomegranate tree, the Lord is saving His people by two guys climbing an impossible ravine (1 Samuel 14:4), who aren’t even missed (1 Samuel 14:17) until the lookouts notice that the Philistine army is imploding upon itself and scattering to the mist (1 Samuel 14:16).

Saul’s response is pitiable. Having failed to obey God’s approved prophet in chapter 13, he tries to follow what he thinks is the correct religious ritual in 1 Samuel 14:18, but notices that he’s about to miss the battle altogether (1 Samuel 14:19-20).

How very different is Jonathan’s faith. Instead of calling for Yahweh’s furniture (verse 18), he trusts in Yahweh Himself (1 Samuel 14:6), knowing that Yahweh has appointed means: “by many or by few” recognizes that although Yahweh does not save by the might of His people, He has in fact ordained to save by their actions. “Few” is still a few. In this case, it is two guys and one set of weapons (which currently make up half the swords and spears of Israel!).

But Jonathan knows that the Lord wants His people to act, and uses their actions. He also knows that his daddy is a little gun-shy at the moment, which probably explains his not running the plan up the chain of command at the end of 1 Samuel 14:1. At the end of the day, Yahweh doesn’t need swords at all, and if He decides to use them, the swords of Philistine enemies and Hebrew traitors will serve nicely (cf. 1 Samuel 14:20-21).

In the final analysis, Yahweh will come Himself as a man, a King in the hardest of places, all by Himself without the assistance of even an armor bearer, at the cross. But while the atonement is completed, the Lord is still working in this world, and the followers of Jesus are like Jonathan. We trust in a Lord who uses means. We don’t have to look for signs like Jonathan did, because we have a completed Bible for our instruction. And the God who “works in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure,” commands us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

So, we look not at the impossible difficulty of the circumstance, nor at the meager resources that we have in ourselves, but to Yahweh, Whom nothing can restrain. Since He saves by many or by few, we cheerfully set our forehead like flint to do what He has commanded, knowing that the outcome of the battle isn’t in doubt. In the short term, we are not presumptuous—like Jonathan, we say of any one endeavor or another, “it may be that Yahweh will work for us,” but if we do not achieve that particular outcome, still we may be sure that God makes “all things work together for good.”

After all, He has not just made us to love Him. He has also called us according to His purpose. And He will accomplish that purpose. This is a good summary statement of the operating faith of someone who holds to Romans 8:28–32, “Nothing restrains Yahweh from saving by many or by few.”
In what difficult or impossible situation do you find yourself? What does the Lord say to do in it?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH244 “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

2020.07.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 8:15–27

Questions from the Scripture text: What spirit did we not receive (Romans 8:15a)? To not do what? What Spirit did we receive (verse 15b)? What does He make us cry out? Who bears witness with us (Romans 8:16)? What does He testify? What three things do we do jointly with Christ, according to Romans 8:17? What do we have in the present time (Romans 8:18)? With what are they not worthy to be compared? Where will this glory be revealed? Who(what) is eagerly waiting for this revelation (Romans 8:19)? What was it subjected to (Romans 8:20)? Who subjected it? In what did He subject it? When the children of God are revealed from what will creation be delivered (Romans 8:21)? Into what? What does the whole creation do (Romans 8:22)? Who else groans (Romans 8:23)? What does our groaning wait for? If we are still hoping for this, what do we not yet do (Romans 8:24)? How do we wait for it (Romans 8:25)? Who else groans (Romans 8:26)? With what is He helping us as He groans in this way (verse 26a)? According to whose will is this groaning intercession (Romans 8:27)? And who listens to this groaning of the Spirit’s mind?
Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin come from Psalm 85 in order that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Christ Is Coming!

In this passage, there is a whole lot of groaning going on. The whole creation is groaning. We are groaning. The Holy Spirit is groaning.

That might sound like a bad thing at first, until we realize that the Holy Spirit is doing it too. What is going on here? There is a sense in which we are already saved (Romans 8:24). But there is a real sense in which our salvation is not yet complete (cf. Romans 13:11).

We aren’t resurrected yet. Our bodies are not glorious yet. And these are reminders that we are still in the midst of that struggle from the second half of chapter 7. Remaining sin—now there’s a reason for some groaning!

But we’re not groaning in fear. We’re groaning in hope. The creation is groaning in hope. Its bondage to corruption is time-limited. When “the big reveal” that God has made us His children happens, the entire creation will be remade. Until then, God has subjected it to futility.

But at the day of resurrection, we won’t just be revealed to be physically indestructible. We’ll be revealed to have been made perfectly holy like our daddy. We will be revealed to be the sons, the children, of God.

This is why the Spirit does not make us to groan in anxiety or fear—as if the work of God in us might never make any progress… as if it wasn’t genuinely on its way to being completed at the last. No, He is a Spirit of adoption to us. He trains us to call God, “daddy”—not in the sense of taking God lightly, but rather in the sense of taking holiness seriously.

We already know that as joint-heirs with Christ, we will be jointly-glorified with Christ. The glory that is coming is not merely a glory that will be revealed to us but a glory that will be revealed in us. And that’s the comparison in Romans 8:18. That’s what the suffering is being used by God to produce.

The Holy Spirit is praying that we would be made like Jesus, so that we can enjoy bringing to Him that glory forever! He groans that we would not continue as we are. And we who have the first-fruits of the Spirit also groan. And the whole creation groans. And God will do it! He’ll finish the work!
How do your prayers groan toward glory? What trial of yours needs this sweetening?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH390 “Christ Is Coming!”

Monday, July 13, 2020

2020.07.13 Hopewell Harbinger

Hopewell This Week, July 13–19, 2020

▫Attached is a pdf of Lord’s Day’s Worship Booklet, complete with Hopewell @Home devotionals for this week, in addition to 8.5x11's of the memory verse and catechism questions that can be used as posters to help with memory work.

▫The links are now active for the Sabbath School class (Reconciliation, Part 2: Civil Justice vs Personal Justice),  morning sermon (Gen 29:31–35, “The God Who Sees, Hears, and Attaches Himself to Us Is Enough”), and evening sermon (Ephesians 3:20–21, “Praying for the Glory of God”) from yesterday, as well as last week’s Prayer Meeting lesson (James 5:15–16a, “The Prayer of Faith That Saves the Sick”).

Prayer MeetingWednesday, July 15, at 6:30p.m. The prayer meeting folder is available at (prayer meeting is also live-streamed at both and

Lord’s Day, July 19:

Praying for the Glory of God (2020.07.12 Evening Sermon in Ephesians 3:20–21)

Since we pray for whom we love, we must pray especially for God's glory. In this text, we learn to adore His unfathomable wisdom, and His abundant power to carry it out, as He glorifies Himself in the church, by Christ Jesus, forever.

The God Who Sees, Hears, and Attaches Himself to Us Is Enough (2020.07.12 Morning Sermon in Genesis 29:31–35)

The Lord Jesus always sees, always hears, always cares, has attached His people to Himself, and is able to do according to all His holy and loving will for us.

Reconciliation (Part 2): Civil Justice v.s. Personal Justice (2020.07.12 Sabbath School)

Began with a brief summary of part 1 ("The Current Culture's View of Reconciliation"), since it didn't get recorded the previous week. This second installment focused upon the difference between what the Bible requires from an authority and what the Bible requires from an individual.

2020.07.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:31–35

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Yahweh see in Genesis 29:31? What did He do for Leah? For whom did He not do it? What did Leah do in Genesis 29:32? What does she call her son? Why? What does she hope will happen? What did Leah do in Genesis 29:33? What did she say about her bearing a second son? What did she call his name? What does Leah do in Genesis 29:34? What does she say about her third son? What does she call him? What does Leah do in Genesis 29:35? This time what does she say? And what happens? 
By the time we come to Genesis 29:31, we’ve heard very little from Yahweh for a long time. In fact, in the entire Jacob narrative so far, we’ve pretty much only heard from Him at Bethel—something that seemed to have a big impact on Jacob in the moment, but didn’t end up affecting his life that much.

Where has Yahweh been? The God of Beer-Lahai-Roi has been watching (Genesis 29:31Genesis 29:32; cf. Genesis 16:7–14). The God of Ishmael has been listening (Genesis 29:33, cf. Genesis 16:11Genesis 16:15). Here is an outcast wife who is bearing children. We have seen and heard this before. And so has Yahweh.

The words that introduce this passage are precious: “When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved.”

Men will always disappoint us. “Put not your confidence in princes, nor in a son of man in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Yahweh his God” (Psalm 146:3–5).

But there is One who always sees, One who always hears, One who always cares, One who has attached His people to Himself. Even a good husband sins, and his wisdom and ability is limited when he is alive, and he is prevented from continuing to help by death. We can see this in the fact that a man is powerless to open the womb of his wife; the Lord has reserved this as a place where He especially demonstrates His power and sovereign will (Genesis 29:31, cf. Genesis 30:2). Blessed are they whose hope is the Lord, and may they offer their lives to Him in praise!
Upon whom are you most tempted to hope? Whom are you most tempted to live to please?
Suggested songs: ARP146 “Praise the Lord” or TPH146 “Praise the Lord! My Soul, O Praise Him!”

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Lord's Day Public Worship as Antidote for Woke-ianity (2020.07.11 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – July 11, 2020
Dear Congregation,

What happens when privilege isn’t a blessing for which to be thankful to God and responsibility to be fulfilled in love, but instead is seen as a guilty condition into which we are born?

We end up with a new form of original sin, for which there can be no full or final atonement. And the definers of this new ethic invent continual acts of penance which are often themselves actually wicked.

There have been many such counterfeit moral ethics with counterfeit gospels, and the most recent example is one that even many believers are falling into participating in.

So, how do we protect ourselves against falling for a counterfeit? By constant consideration of the genuine article.

Every Lord’s Day, God gathers those who had begun in the original sin of Adam—not that they might atone for their guilt by repudiation and reparations, but that they might rejoice in Christ, the last Adam who has fully atoned for them, and to thank and love Him with worship that He has commanded.

Then, He sends them out to live lives of thankfulness and love, obeying His commands as a response to complete atonement in anticipation of His completing the application of His redemption unto His glory in the last day.

Yes, reconciliation is something that already exists in Christ. And, we are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. And God’s primary way of informing and forming us is His public worship on the Lord’s Day.

Do you want to participate in and see the application of the reconciliation of Christ? Well, it all begins with public worship!

Looking forward to doing so together,

LORD'S DAY – July 12, 2020

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens
10 a.m. Sabbath School
This week, we’re beginning a series on topics related to important issues that people around us are talking much about right now, continuing this week to study what Holy Scripture teaches us about “Racial Reconciliation.”

11 a.m. Public Worship
Children’s Catechism for July 12
Q37. What does every sin deserve? A. The wrath and curse of God.

Shorter Catechism for July 12
Q45. Which is the first commandment? A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Psalms and Hymns
TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear”   
ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” 
TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service

Scripture Readings
Old Testament – 1Samuel 13
Epistle – Ephesians 3:20–21
Gospel – Luke 6:39–45

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from Genesis 29:31–35 about the Lord Jesus, Who always sees, Who always hears, Who always cares, Who has attached His people to Himself, and Who is able to do according to all His holy and loving will for us.

12:45 p.m. Coffee Fellowship and Catechism Class

1 p.m. Fellowship Lunch & Open Mic Time
There will be plenty for everyone, but as with breakfast, those who are uncomfortable eating from the line are encouraged to bring their own food that they keep separate.

At open mic time, we’ll begin with birthdays and anniversaries and recitations of the memory verse:
(Genesis 29:35) And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

2:30 p.m Psalm/hymn Sing
Carryover song requests from last week:
Blue: 46, 1, 99A, 127
Red: 253, 277, 476
(if you wish to make this week’s requests in advance, please feel free to reply to this email, and let me know!)

3:30 p.m. P.M. exhortation from Ephesians 3:20–21

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for July:
Riverside ARP in Prattville, AL

July Psalm of the Month
ARP72A God, Give Your Judgments to the King

Upcoming Events
•July 15, Prayer Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
•July 18, Men’s Breakfast, 6:30 a.m.
•July 20, Monthly Session Meeting, 6 p.m.
•August 30, Sermon to “launch” class series on delighted consecration of the Lord’s holy day
•September 13, Lord’s Day series begins in the Sabbath School
•October 2-4, HARPC 200th Anniversary Celebration

Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)

▪ Alan McClelland and his ministry at Ft. Rucker
▪ Repentance of the Church and the Nations for general rejection of the Kingship of Christ
▪ Comfort and provision for the LeeAnn Billings family as they grieve; PRAISE for increased work, and prayer that one of her jobs will increase to full time and carry benefits
▪ Pray for the Jeffers family, whose granddaughter Isabelle (14) and then her mother Norma both attempted suicide; there’s a long way to go medically, financially, and especially spiritually for all involved; please keep praying for them and for Sue’s ministry to them
▪ Pray for Rebecca Sterling, whose condition seems to be deteriorating again, and who would like to not end up back in the nursing home

▪ Pray with D&L L for her 85yo mother and her heart issues
▪ Pray with P&D W for his mom who fell, and for their return trip back out there to situate her more safely and with proper care
▪ PRAISE with S&D B for Andrew’s relief, and pray that he would be able to wean off the medicine well
▪ Pray with S&D B and D&D R for Doug and Dianne’s oldest son Dave. He is not a believer, homeless and in despair.
▪ Pray with KC for her acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son; and, for her dear friends who need to live a life of faith and devotion to the Lord; and for friend Patty, a believer, that she will continue to do well after treatment for uterine cancer

▪ Pray with D&M G that her mother would continue healing well and not smoking; for Sean; for Jeremiah and Julianna
▪ Pray with W&C G for her mother’s health and caregivers; and for spiritual (and total) well-being of son Greg
▪ Pray with J&H H for his father’s cancer; for sweetness in his parents’ remaining time together; for his youngest brother, and the same brother’s son (with CP, and recovering from hip surgery) and daughter
▪ Pray with R&M J for Meredith, young daughter of M’s college friend Ashely (and husband Brad), who’s taking medicine to shrink her brain tumor; and for Meredeth and baby, due in January
▪ Pray with O&A L for her unbelieving mother w/heart condition, and her family’s grieving over her brother
▪ Pray with CM for friend Michael Duval and his recovery from knee surgery
▪ Pray with C&T P for the conversion of her brother Todd; and for her dad and family in the loss of his wife Jolene
▪ Pray with AR for friend Caleb Figura w/mysterious but debilitating gut illness
▪ Pray with D&K R for their family’s growth in godliness, especially dying to self, godly speech, and Lord’s Day keeping; for Micah, Rachel, and baby girl due in July; and for local pastor/constable Darryl Thrasher, who has an aggressive, malignant brain tumor
▪ Pray with GR for friend Abby to come to faith in Christ
▪ Pray with JeR for believing friend Jeanette Cary’s CHF, Fibromyalgia, & slow-healing wound
▪ Pray with J&M R for baby Bentley, and their family’s adjustment and future with him
▪ Pray with J&S R for the situation with his work furlough; her nephew, who needs life in Christ; and for her and her family in the loss of her father, especially spiritual impact on her sisters and nephews; for his whole family, and especially his mother, as they grieve the passing away of his father; and sister Kathy, who just lost her husband; and for Celeste and her ministry to her professing friend who has decided that homosexuality isn’t wrong
▪ Pray with S&V Y for his parents and siblings as they deal with his father’s declining health and his mother’s dementia; and for her niece Carina and her husband Luke and their newborn daughter Callaway who was born with an acidemia and is recovering from an extended period of high ammonia in her blood
▪ Please pray with Riverside ARP in Prattville, AL, throughout the month of July
▪ Please pray for the TN-AL Presbytery to be enabled to plant a faithful church with the resources available and earmarked for that purpose

▪ Please pray for all ARP presbyteries, churches, and agencies

▪ Please pray for our nation, state, community and all the officials thereof 

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)

2020.07.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:31–35

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Yahweh see in Genesis 29:31? What did He do for Leah? For whom did He not do it? What did Leah do in Genesis 29:32? What does she call her son? Why? What does she hope will happen? What did Leah do in Genesis 29:33? What did she say about her bearing a second son? What did she call his name? What does Leah do in Genesis 29:34? What does she say about her third son? What does she call him? What does Leah do in Genesis 29:35? This time what does she say? And what happens? 
The passage begins with Yahweh seeing that Leah is unloved and concludes with Leah finally seeing Yahweh as her only hope for love.

From Israel’s perspective, God is finally starting to multiply His people. Abraham had one child that ended up being a covenant child in God’s church. Isaac had one child that ended up being a covenant child in God’s church. By the end of these five verses, instead of merely replacing one at a time, we have four. God is bringing about His great plan of redemption!

But the God whose plan works on the grand scale of all of history for all of humanity also notices and addresses His most unnoticed people and their most personal problems.

The shenanigans of the previous ten verses produced a polygamy that is crushing Leah’s heart. Our own hearts ache with her as the Holy Spirit takes us through her baby-name reasoning. “Now therefore, my husband will love me” (Genesis 29:32b). “Because Yahweh has heard that I am unloved” (Genesis 29:33a). “Now this time my husband will become attached to me” (Genesis 29:34a).

But while husbands and their affections may be a great blessing and comfort, it is a trap to look to them for that happiness and security that can only come from the Lord. It is not the sadness of giving up that we read in Genesis 29:35 but the new joy of holy resignation to commit her heart to the Lord. We will see that this is not a perfect and continual state of glad faith for her (what believer in this life ever has that?), but in comparison to the other names, what a glorious name is Judah.

Judah. Praise. She is no longer waiting for Yahweh’s plan to “work.” She’s just praising Yahweh. She no longer needs to be relieved of her affliction to be comforted that Yahweh sees her in the midst of it (Genesis 29:32b). She no longer needs to achieve her husband's love to be comforted that Yahweh hears her in the midst of it (Genesis 29:33a).

Her husband may not be attached to her (Genesis 29:34a), but you know who is? The living, seeing, hearing, womb-opening God! Jacob is not in the place of God (cf. Genesis 30:2); the One Who genuinely does love her is God!

Sometimes, it is only after years of marriage and hoping in a husband’s love, or years in some other difficulty, that the Lord’s attention-grabbing providence finally grips us with the wonderful truths that His Word teaches us. But He is always there, always loving, always seeing, always hearing.

And He is Almighty. He opens and closes wombs. And He does so in the process of bringing Christ into the world to save sinners. Not just sinners generally. But the believing sinner reading this devotional. In her personal pain that no one else seems to see or care about. Is this not a God who is worthy of your trust, security, contentment, and praise?!
What hidden pain do you have? Who sees it? What has He done about it in Christ? What more would you need in order to find contentment in Him and live for His praise?
Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Prayer of Faith That Saves the Sick (James 5:15–16a Prayer Devotional)

The "prayer of faith" is something that the prophet began the letter by talking about, in the context of the eternal hope that gladdens us in the midst of temporal trial. Now at the end of the letter, the prophet affirms that when the elders come and lead the sick believer in this prayer of faith, that prayer is always instrumental and ultimately successful in God's working to give this believer what Jesus has deserved for us.