Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Reminder from the Session" — the 2020.03.27 pastoral letter and Hopewell Herald


Hopewell Herald – March 27, 2020

This week’s letter is from the Session, reaffirming the commitment to the public worship of God in keeping the 4th commandment, while keeping in view the profound duties of the 6th Commandment, as concisely summarized from Scripture in WLC 135.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There seems to be some question as to how Hopewell will operate during this epidemic. The Session has cancelled all unnecessary gatherings for several weeks until we can get a handle on how this virus will run its course. Right now, that means everything outside of Lord’s Day morning worship is unnecessary. Until we have more information that the danger is past, we will only be gathering for worship Sunday morning, our normal 11 am service.

Some might ask why we are gathering at all if there is a present danger, and for that answer we need to go to Scripture. The feasts in Leviticus and the Calls to Worship in Psalms all show that we, as covenant people of God, have a duty to gather and worship our God and Father, “in His courts” or “before His presence.”  Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” We have been given the invaluable gift of being able to draw near to Glory itself and worship our God in Christ. Why would we want to forsake that?

However, if you are feeling ill, running a fever, or having respiratory trouble, please stay home! We have the technology to bring the worship service right into your living room, and there you can pray, sing, hear the word preached, and worship along with those gathering at Hopewell. Remember, the same commandment that forbids murder also commands us to do everything in our power to save and preserve life. Unnecessarily increasing the risk of exposure runs contrary to that commandment.

The Session also asks the congregation to join them in prayer and fasting, mourning and repenting over the sins that has brought this judgement on the world. We are also looking into social media where the congregation would be able to connect Wednesday nights and have the Prayer Meeting, each in our own home.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Pastor or one of the elders.

The Elders


LORD'S DAY – March 29, 2020

Lord’s Day worship and prayer meeting are live-streamed at http://bit.ly/harpclive

A couple times each day, the audio of the pastor’s family worship is also streamed at that link, as well as at facebook.com/jnhakim. The facebook page archives the full audio session, and recordings of just the teaching times can be found at https://bit.ly/harpcFW

11 a.m. Morning Worship
Children’s Catechism for March 29
Q22. What is a covenant? A. An agreement between two or more persons.

Shorter Catechism for March 29
Q30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ? A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.


Hymns and Psalms
+ SONG OF ADORATION — TPH325 "All Glory, Laud, and Honor"           
+ HOLY SCRIPTURE PUBLICLY SUNG — ARP100 "All Earth, With Joy"
+ SONG OF RESPONSE — TPH201 "Twas on That Night When Doomed to Know"

Basis of first portion of worship service

Scripture Readings
Old Testament – 1Samuel 3
Epistle – Ephesians 1:7–8
Gospel – Luke 3:15–20

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from 1Corinthians 11:17–34 about the Supper that Christ commands as part of His worship, in which it is Christ who gives Himself to His church, His covenant people.

No formal/organized gatherings other than public worship. Heads of households are encouraged to find other ways of helping their families keep the day.
WLC 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for March:
Lincoln Memorial ARP in Fayetteville, TN

March Psalm of the Month
ARP100 All Earth, with Joy

Upcoming Events
•March 30, Monthly Session meeting 6p.m.
•October 2-4, HARPC 200th Anniversary Celebration

Smooth Stones from a Babbling Brook
(Internet links of the week)
▪ Worshiping during plague, and the spread of disease, was once something with which the church was acquainted and more theologically (and medically, ironically, in some cases) informed. I'd encourage you to read through this list of doctrinally sound and spiritually wise statements at ReformedBooksOnline. I'm not a big fan of Joel McDurmon (he tends to make mistakes like calling George Gillespie a theonomist, rather than a general equity Westminsterian), but if there's just too much on that page, you might read through just the briefer selections that he made from the reformedbooksonline page.
▪ A very good follow-up to this past Lord’s Day’s sermon is this sermon preached on March 18 by Pastor Robert McCurley. It is a word in season, and I urge you all to listen to it with hearts open unto God and His Word.
▪ Also, though I have linked you to it before, I continue to urge you to listen to this sermon preached by Sinclair Ferguson, if you haven’t yet. The Lord’s focus in His works in history is upon His church, and we must heed His Word if we are to learn from His recent actions and respond rightly to Him.
▪ Dr. Pipa, reflecting upon current events in light of Scripture, gives us six suggestions for what to do in times like these when the Lord roars like a lion.

Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)
▪ Alan McClelland and his ministry at Ft. Rucker
Repentance of the Church and the Nations, as well as comfort and strength through the advancement of the gospel in the wake of the tornadoes in Middle Tennessee, and against the backdrop of SARS-CoV-2 and its accompanying panic
▪ Comfort and provision for the LeeAnn Billings family as they grieve, especially for new work, as the university just eliminated her position from the department
▪ Rebecca Sterling’s new shunt and tube to properly drain brain fluid
▪ 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 Kacey and family, going through difficult trial
▪ Pray with D&L L for her 85yo mother, who has a small blockage and needs a procedure for it in the next couple weeks
Pray with S&D B for Andrew’s medicine to help his body to stop eliminating his protein
▪ Pray with KC for her acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son; and, for sister Diane and her husband Frank, who need a living faith in Christ; 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; for Jordan & Atlanta whose twins are due mid-April
▪ 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 and recovery from open-heart surgeries; and sweetness in his parents’ remaining time together; for his youngest brother; for sister-in-law’s recovery from cancer treatment
▪ Pray for James Heard to make good choices and to walk with an serve the Lord in this next phase of his life.
▪ Pray with H&K H for their health (especially Karen’s back, which keeps getting reinjured, and their schedule which it affects) and for many of their loved ones; needing Christian fellowship: her grandmother and father, widow Hope w/4 children, Brown family of 7 (wayward son Nicholas); needing health: her mom, sister Lisa, Martina, Donna, Joyce; needing spiritual life: Velvet and Reagan (lost their sister/daughter to a brutal murder), neighbors Shawn, Merlin, & children; other widows: Libby, Naomi (w/daughter Stacia), Stephanie (w/many children, were missionaries); friend Andrea’s New Age friends; Charles & Robert to be able to forgive; friends w/family problems: Dave, Lee, Melodie, Cole; spiritual growth and wife for friend Scott; their family’s evangelism, recently firefighter Dalton; Riggs to grow mighty in the Lord
▪ 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
▪ Pray with O&A L for her unbelieving mother w/heart condition, and brother w/lung cancer.
▪ Pray with CM for his sister Ginger, diagnosed with an aggressive and advanced leukemia, and for Sheriff’s Reserve James Wilson, and his wife Andra’s cancer
▪ Pray with C&T P for wisdom for him about what to do with two good career choices, and for the conversion of her brother Todd
▪ 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 pray for Hannah’s and Noah Martyn’s thriving and fast recovery; 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&S R for 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; and for her sister Rebecca’s pregnancy, PRAISE for her successful surgery; and for his parents in coping with his father’s Parkinson’s; and PRAISE for friends’ baby Arianna successful kidney surgery
PRAISE with S&V Y for the full recovery of 12yo Peyton, a relative of theirs from an unbelieving family, who had leukemia
▪ Please pray with Lincoln Memorial ARP in Fayetteville, TN, throughout the month of March
▪ 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)

Help from Wise Pastors as You Think Through COVID

There are many voices offering many opinions on this subject, and we are prone just to get thinking in one direction, commit to it emotionally, and then filter all information and opinion by the side toward which we have built that psycho-emotional inertia.

It may help filter out the cacophany of voices to listen to a few, wise, trusted voices highlight various principles, priorities, and datapoints, as we think through the issue:

Over at his own personal blog, our Pastor has linked to a helpful podcast on the topic by Dr. Pipa, along with some supplemental thoughts from our Pastor himself.

Dr. Beeke has commended this discussion between pastors from the NCFIC.

Additionally, here are some links commended to us in this week's Hopewell Herald:

Smooth Stones from a Babbling Brook
(Internet links of the week)
▪ Worshiping during plague, and the spread of disease, was once something with which the church was acquainted and more theologically (and medically, ironically, in some cases) informed. I'd encourage you to read through this list of doctrinally sound and spiritually wise statements at ReformedBooksOnline. I'm not a big fan of Joel McDurmon (he tends to make mistakes like calling George Gillespie a theonomist, rather than a general equity Westminsterian), but if there's just too much on that page, you might read through just the briefer selections that he made from the reformedbooksonline page.
▪ A very good follow-up to this past Lord’s Day’s sermon is this sermon preached on March 18 by Pastor Robert McCurley. It is a word in season, and I urge you all to listen to it with hearts open unto God and His Word.
▪ Also, though I have linked you to it before, I continue to urge you to listen to this sermon preached by Sinclair Ferguson, if you haven’t yet. The Lord’s focus in His works in history is upon His church, and we must heed His Word if we are to learn from His recent actions and respond rightly to Him.
▪ Dr. Pipa, reflecting upon current events in light of Scripture, gives us six suggestions for what to do in times like these when the Lord roars like a lion.

2020.03.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 11:17–34

Questions from the Scripture text: Was the Corinthians’ coming together making it better or worse (1 Corinthians 11:17)? What was the first reason that coming together for church was actually hurting them instead of helping them (1 Corinthians 11:18)? What is one reason that God allows these divisions—these factions—in the church (1 Corinthians 11:19)? Whose Supper, then, were they not eating (1 Corinthians 11:20)? Because whose supper were each of them taking (1 Corinthians 11:21)? From whom did Paul receive these instructions about the Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23)? What did Jesus take on the night He was betrayed (verse 23)? When He gave thanks, what did He do with it (1 Corinthians 11:24)? What did He say? When did He take up the cup (1 Corinthians 11:25)? What did He say about it? What do eating the bread and drinking the cup proclaim (show forth) (1 Corinthians 11:26)? And for how long? If someone eats or drinks in the wrong way (“an unworthy manner”) of what are they guilty (1 Corinthians 11:27)? What is someone to do about the way he takes the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28)? What happens to us if we are wrong about that (1 Corinthians 11:29)? What was happening to them because they were taking it wrong (1 Corinthians 11:30-32)? What should we do at the Lord’s Supper, when we come together to eat (1 Corinthians 11:33)? If we are hungry for food, what are we to do (1 Corinthians 11:34)? 
In this passage, we learn about the Lord’s Supper—one of the great gifts that the Lord Jesus uses to bless us in worship. But, it was hurting the Corinthians instead of helping them. Why? Because everyone was seeking their own interests (1 Corinthians 11:21). It was a spill-over from the division in their church (1 Corinthians 11:18) that God was using to expose the hearts of some who were not even believers (1 Corinthians 11:19).

But even believers were getting caught up in this division and self-interest. 1 Corinthians 11:32 tells us that some who were being judged with death were those who would not be condemned with the world. That doesn’t surprise us. Believers are sinners. We nurse bitterness, color others ugly with our words.

But of course the Lord’s Supper must never be the place for this. Jesus was betrayed for His church. Jesus died for this church. And Jesus gives Himself to His church, at the Lord’s Supper in particular. When He is giving Himself to us, we must not come to the table for anything else. And when He is giving Himself to our brothers and sisters, we must not come to the table with hearts divided against them.

He gives us bread to eat. But He tells us that He is feeding us upon Himself. He gives us a cup to drink. But He tells us that this is a covenant pledge—an action of announcing and confirming His bond with us and our bond with Him.

So, if we are just trying to have a snack, or trying to display ourselves, or make ourselves feel a certain way… then we are ignoring Jesus. And if we aren’t recognizing that the ones taking the Supper with us were so precious to Him that He is doing the same for them, then we are ignoring Jesus.

And if we are ignoring Jesus at the Lord’s Supper, we are not just guilty of a procedural error, or momentary gluttony, or even failing to reconcile with a brother. If we are ignoring Jesus at the moment that He is giving Himself to us as fruit of His work on the cross, then we are sinning against the body and blood of Jesus.

This is the great self-examination as we come to the table. It’s not trying to figure out if we’re spiritual enough, or repentant enough, or believing enough. It’s a questioning of whether we are coming because we know ourselves to be sinners, and we know Christ to be our only hope. It’s a questioning of whether as we come, we will look to Christ by faith and rejoice that He gives Himself to our brothers and sisters, as well as to us.
Why do you take the Lord’s Supper? What are you looking for as you take? Are you also thinking about your brothers and sisters who are taking the supper? With whom do you need to reconcile, so that you can rejoice for them? 
Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH201 “’Twas on That Night When Doomed to Know”

Friday, March 27, 2020

2020.03.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 3:15–20

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the people reasoning expectantly about in Luke 3:15? With what did John say he was baptizing them (Luke 3:16)? What did he say about the One who was coming? Of what was John not worthy? With what would this mightier One baptize? What is in His hand (Luke 3:17)? What does John call the ones that the mightier One would gather to Himself? What would He do to the rest? What did John continue to do (Luke 3:18)? Whom had he rebuked (Luke 3:19a)? What had Herod done (verse 19b)? What was his worst evil (Luke 3:20)?
How important is repentance? There is no salvation without it.

Of course, salvation is not by what we do, but only by what Jesus has done. He alone offers up that perfect obedience that can be counted as our righteousness. He alone offers up that sacrifice that can atone—and fully atones—for our sin and guilt. And He alone can give us life to believe in Him, and the cleansing necessary to come into our final inheritance. He baptizes with the Spirit and with fire.

John makes this clear when distinguishing himself from the Christ. John baptizes with water. Only the mightier One—the One whose sandals John is not worthy to untie—can give the needed baptism to save.

It is very important for us to see that Jesus’s salvation does not save everyone. Luke 3:17 is abundantly clear on that point. This is connected to the repentance that John preached (Luke 3:18, cf. Luke 3:3Luke 3:8). For, only the Lord Jesus can grant repentance by His power (cf. Acts 11:18). Though repentance itself does not save, all whom He saves do repent.

This begs the most important question for you: have you repented? Have you turned from trusting self to trusting Christ? Have you turned from serving self to serving Christ? If not—or if you’re not sure—the solution is the same: cry out to the mightier One whose sandal straps John was unworthy to loosen. Jesus is the Christ. He will save you by His Spirit. He will grant unto you repentance and faith, and He will gather You to Himself instead of burning you with the unquenchable fire!
In what ways are you still trusting yourself? In what ways still serving yourself?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH557 “Great King of Nations”