The next (scheduled) webcast is Lord's Day Morning, 11:00 p.m. Central.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

2020.05.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 25:27–34

Questions from the Scripture text: How does Genesis 25:27 summarily describe Esau? How does it summarily describe Jacob? Whom does Isaac love and why (Genesis 25:28)? Who loves Jacob? What has Jacob done in Genesis 25:29? What does Esau do? And what condition is he in? What does Esau ask (Genesis 25:30)? What changes as a result of this? What does Jacob demand (Genesis 25:31)? How does Esau respond to that (Genesis 25:32)? What does Jacob insist in Genesis 25:33? What four actions does Genesis 25:34 say happened? How does verse 34 summarize it? 
The Scripture has given us an admirable picture of Isaac and Rebekah so far, but we have just the beginning hints of trouble in this passage. Isaac is going to fall soon into one of the famous sins of his father, and by the time they are done, Isaac will be a self-indulgent old man who attempts to overturn the declared will of God, and Rebekah will be running a spy network to oppose her husband’s plans by force of cunning.

Even worse, Isaac’s fleshly priorities find a sad reflection in his eldest son. Hebrews 12:14–16 warns that if we do not pursue peace and that holiness which we must have to see the Lord, a root of bitterness will spring up, and people will become defiled and “profane (worldly/godless) like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”

We must never grow complacent in our walk with the Lord. Rather, “let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

And what is it to walk with God? Well, it is very much like it sounds. That every step we take, we would take in fellowship with Him. We would not turn aside to the right or to the left in breaking His commandments. We would not lag behind Him, shrinking from any duty. We would not run ahead of Him, either trusting in our own strength or pursuing our own fleshly interests. Just. Walk. With. Him. Obeying His commandments, serving Him in all things, trusting Him, and denying ourselves. He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6:8).

If Esau walks with God, then he doesn’t exaggerate his present distress or desires. But there is One who was hungry, not having eaten for 40 days or nights. How did He resist temptation? Because He was dependent upon, devoted to, delighting in the God with Whom He walked, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

If Jacob walks with God, then he would trust God with his inheritance and show mercy to his brother. But there is One who is moved with compassion for five thousand hungry ones who, by the end of the next day, will have turned on Him entirely (John 6:1–66). He feeds them, and when it comes time to die for them, He opens not His mouth but entrusts Himself to God who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21–25).

So, let us rejoice that it is in our behalf that Christ has been the opposite of both Esau and Jacob here. Let us marvel that it was through such a family that Christ was coming into the world to obey in our place and die in our place. And, let us also learn from their example and His that we must walk with God because it please Christ, and because the work that He is doing in us is a work in which He is making us to be like Himself!
When do you tend to indulge your flesh? Upon whom do you find it hardest to have compassion?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH525 “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”

Friday, May 8, 2020

2020.05.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 5:12–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What kind of man sees Jesus in Luke 5:12? How does he respond to Him? What does he say? How does Jesus respond (Luke 5:13)? What is the result? What does Jesus tell him not to do (Luke 5:14)? What does He tell him to do? Just as what? But what happens anyway (Luke 5:15)? For what two things did the multitudes come together?  
In a few, short verses here, we see many glorious characteristics of our Lord Jesus. And to these we may rightly respond with the leper by falling upon our faces before Him (Luke 5:12), and rightly respond with the great multitudes by coming to Him to hear Him and coming to Him to be healed of our infirmities (Luke 5:15).

First, we see Christ’s saving ability. Of this the leper was sure, “You can make me clean.” His expectation is well-grounded. The Lord who rebukes fevers and directs fish into nets commands, “be cleansed,” and “immediately the leprosy left him.” There is nothing in our lives that cannot be immediately resolved by the word or even the whim of our Redeemer. How great is His saving power!

Second, we see Christ’s compassionate willingness. Of this the leper was less sure, “Lord, if you are willing.” In Mark, the Holy Spirit tells us that this willingness was moved by Jesus’s compassion. We too have need of that compassion, because we too are more likely to balk at Christ’s willingness. Often, our doubting in prayer comes from too-small a view of the compassionate willingness of our Redeemer. How differently our hearts would approach, if we were absolutely confident that He always operates out of a willingness to do and give every possible good and perfect thing for us!

Third, we see Christ’s perfect righteousness. He came to keep the law in our place, which we could never have done. Even in His instruction in Luke 5:14, Jesus honors the commandments of God. He prioritizes the display of God’s glory unto the priests in this “testimony to them,” while not looking for immediate praise for Himself in charging the healed man “to tell no one.” Behold, Christ our righteousness, as He keeps both the letter and the spirit of the law of God in our place! How perfect is that obedience of His that is counted for us before God!

Fourth, we see Christ’s literally self-sacrificial love. Part of the reason for His charging the healed leper to tell no one is that He has not come at this time to enter into the fullness of His glory. When Peter spoke against Christ dying, Jesus called him “Satan” and told him that he had in mind the things of men rather than the things of God. By contrast, Jesus “came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), for which purpose He had “set His face toward Jerusalem” (cf. Luke 9:51–53). Behold, the Redeemer who had a right to glory, but charged the cleansed leper not to give it, because He came to give Himself to die on the cross for our sins (cf. Philippians 2:5–11).

The saving ability of Christ, the compassionate willingness of Christ, the perfect righteousness of Christ, and the atoning/self-sacrificial love of Christ are all on display here. Shall we not rightly respond with the leper by falling upon our faces before Him (Luke 5:12), and rightly respond with the great multitudes by coming to Him to hear Him and coming to Him to be healed of our infirmities (Luke 5:15)?
Which attributes of Christ do you seem to forget the most? How/when will you remind yourself?
Suggested songs: ARP45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred” or TPH280 “Wondrous King, All Glorious”

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Prayer through Jesus in Boldness, Effectiveness, Holiness, Sincerity, and Assurance (2020.05.06 Prayer Meeting Devotional)

Hebrews 10:19–22. When we come to God through Christ for prayer, we should come with boldness, expectation of effectiveness, mindful consecration unto His holiness, gospel-liberated sincerity, and baptism-sealed assurance.

2020.05.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 2:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What was the original condition of the Ephesian Christians (Ephesians 2:1)? According to what two entities did they walk (Ephesians 2:2)? In whom does the prince of the power of the air continue to work? Who else once conducted themselves among them (Ephesians 2:3)? In what did they conduct themselves? What did they fulfill? What were they by nature? Like whom? In what is God rich (Ephesians 2:4)? What caused Him to act? Whom does Paul include among the dead in Ephesians 2:5? What did God do to them? In Whom? By what were they saved? What two things did they do with them in Ephesians 2:6? Together with Whom? What did God want to show (Ephesians 2:7)? In what? In Whom?
There is a resurrection that must come before faith.

It is to the Ephesian saints that the apostle writes, “you were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and then he begins including himself in this death in Ephesians 2:3, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” But this was not just a behavioral pattern; the apostle says that it had been his and their nature, “and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

What had to happen to undo this? Spiritual resurrection! God “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” We sometimes read of people saying that what is “not of ourselves” in Ephesians 2:8 is the grace and salvation, but that somehow the faith does come from ourselves. This kind of thinking completely misses the first “by grace” in Ephesians 2:5. Those who are dead and need resurrecting cannot believe. They must be “made alive” first.

And praise God that He gives this faith according to His rich mercy and great love (Ephesians 2:4)!
And this passage teaches not only the resurrection of the believer in Christ before faith, but the ascension and session of the believer in Christ by that faith. And He “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

This is how faith works unto justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. It doesn’t just give us credit for merit that belongs to Christ or access to power that belongs to Christ; it is the means by which we are joined to Christ Himself. We are crucified in union with Him. We are resurrected in union with Him. We ascend in union with Him. We sit in union with Him.

Again (cf. Ephesians 1:23), the Holy Spirit says something here that would be a terrible blasphemy if we had come up with the idea. But this is the richness of God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and the greatness of His love (verse 4)—to give us such honors and privileges by means of our union with Christ!

And ultimately, that is the purpose of seating us with Him, and in Him, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” The purpose is, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

The church is like a trophy unto the exceeding riches of God’s grace in His kindness toward us. And Christ Himself, as we have been united to Him, is the great display of that grace. And God has taken His trophy and set it upon the highest pedestal of the highest heaven. Praise be to His grace!
What happened to you, in Jesus? Where “are” you, in Jesus? What difference does it make?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

2020.05.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 6:13–7:1

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the people of Beth Shemesh doing in 1 Samuel 6:13? What did they see? How did they feel about that? To where did the cart come (1 Samuel 6:14)? What was there? What did they do with the cart, the cows, and the stone? What do the Levites then do (1 Samuel 6:15)? What do the men of Beth Shemesh do? Who were watching all of this (1 Samuel 6:16)? What objects remained where even to the day that 1 Samuel was written (1 Samuel 6:17-18; ignore the supplied/italicized words in the translation)? What had the men of Beth Shemesh done (1 Samuel 6:19)? And what did Yahweh do to them? How many died of this? How did the people respond in verse 19? What did they ask in 1 Samuel 6:20, and what did they want to do with the ark? To whom do they send messengers (1 Samuel 6:21)? What do they say has happened? What do they ask them to do? Where do the men of Kirjath Jearim bring the ark (1 Samuel 7:1)? What do they do to Eleazar and why?
It seems that the people of Beth Shemesh do much better than the Philistines. They offer a sacrifice on an uncut stone. They employ Levites to handle the ark of Yahweh. The actions in 1 Samuel 6:14-15 stand very well by contrast to the idolatry in 1 Samuel 6:17-18.

Why, then, is the slaughter of Israelites in 1 Samuel 6:19 greater than the slaughter of both battles with the Philistines in chapter 4? Because they mix their superstitious curiosity with the commandments of the Lord. Perhaps they wanted to see Yahweh Himself, whom they now presumed to be actually contained in the ark, after what it had done to the Philistines. Perhaps they did not think it was Yahweh Himself but earthly articles of great spiritual power. Perhaps they were just taking advantage of the fact that the Ark was not hidden in the tabernacle, and this was their chance to see inside.

Whatever the particular reason, the primary reason for the slaughter is the same: they failed to grapple well with the reality of God’s holiness. They had not learned the lesson of Leviticus 10:3, “By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people, I must be glorified.”

I wonder if we have learned that lesson in our daily lives, and especially in our private, family, and corporate worship. How much are we affected by the knowledge that we are always before the face of the Holy, Holy, Holy God? Does the conduct of our mind and heart in private worship reflect a sense of His holiness? Would those who participate in our family worship conclude from our manner that the God Whom we worship is holy—and if our manner does, what does God observe, when He sees in secret?

What does our conduct before and after public worship say about the holiness of Him whom we approach—to say nothing of what we do during worship? It is not so very unusual for children to doodle about something unrelated, or for adults and even church officers to research around on their phones, during the preaching, instead of giving their minds and souls to be examined by Christ in it (cf. Hebrews 4:12–13). And how easily one may slouch unthinkingly through reading written prayers (or not even following extemporaneous prayers), or how easily an entire congregation may address God and one another lightly in familiar songs!

But this is not a lesson we learn easily. Even where it rests “safely” in the house of Abinadab resides one of his sons, Uzzah, who himself will become famous for being struck dead for disregarding God’s holiness in touching the ark with his hand to stabilize it. God help us regard His holiness, not only in our manner, but most of all in only ever coming to Him through the righteousness of Christ!
In what situations are you least mindful of God’s holiness? When do you most need to be?
Suggested Songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH230 “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

2020.05.05 Hopewell Harbinger


Hopewell This Week, May 4–9, 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.

▫Also attached is the “Session Meeting Digest” from the May stated/monthly meeting.

▫The link is now active for audio and pdf outline of the Lord’s Day morning sermon (Genesis 25:19­–26 God’s Glory is Magnified by Election and Prayer)

Prayer MeetingWednesday, May 6, at 6:30p.m. The prayer meeting folder is available at http://bit.ly/harpc200506pm

Lord’s Day, May 10:
9:50 a.m. Breakfast line. If you are getting breakfast from the line, we’d like to get that going a little earlier. If you’re not yet comfortable with that, you are welcome to bring your own breakfast
10 a.m. Study Class. We’ll continue studying Effectual Calling (the immediate source in the application of redemption to believers) and Election (the ultimate source in the application of redemption to believers)
11 a.m. Public Worship. The holy assembly on the Lord’s Day.  
Children’s Catechism for May 10
Q28. What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

Shorter Catechism for May 10
Q36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification? A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

Songs for May 10 morning service: 
TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”   
ARP78B “O Come, My People, to My Law” 
TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord, with Thee”

A.M. Sermon Text for May 10: Genesis 25:27–34
▫12:45 p.m. Catechism Class
▫12:45 p.m. Tea/Chocolate/Coffee Fellowship
▫1 p.m. Fellowship Meal. Again, if you are not yet comfortable participating in the line, but wish to continue keeping the Lord’s Day together, please bring separate food for your
2:30 p.m. Psalm/hymn Sing. Even if they do not come for lunch, please invite other believers to this time of praise and sung encouragement in the Word of God.
3:30 p.m. Church Family Devotional. Ephesians 2:1–7.

Memory Verse for May 10
(Genesis 25:34) And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

2020.05.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Revelation 5

Questions from the Scripture text: What did the One on the throne have in Revelation 5:1? What question does the strong angel ask in Revelation 5:2? What was Revelation 5:3’s answer to the question? How did John respond to this (Revelation 5:4)? Whom did the elder say had prevailed to be able to do it (Revelation 5:5)? When John looks for this Lion in Revelation 5:6, what does he see? What does the Lamb come and take in Revelation 5:7? What had Jesus taken in Revelation 5:8? What do the four living creatures and twenty-four elders do when they see this? What does verse 8 call Jesus? What does a harp represent? What does the verse tell us the bowls of incense represent? What kind of song did they sing in Revelation 5:9? What did they say Jesus was worthy to do? Why do they say that He is worthy? What has Jesus made out of those whom He has redeemed (Revelation 5:10)? What does John see in Revelation 5:11? How many angels were there? What were they saying in Revelation 5:12? With what kind of voice? How many of the creatures in heaven were doing so (Revelation 5:13)? How many of those on the earth? How many of those under the earth? How many of those in the sea? To whom were they shouting this blessing and honor and glory and power? What did the four living creatures say in Revelation 5:14? What did the twenty-four elders do? What does verse 14 call Jesus?
Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin come from Revelation 5 in order to sing God’s thoughts after Him with Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem.

Every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee and every tongue on earth. Every knee and every tongue in heaven.

No one else has the power to control all of history. And our Lord Jesus exercises this power to control in two infinitely important ways. First, He crushes His enemies. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Root of David. He has prevailed. He has crushed the serpent’s head!

But the truly glorious thing is the way that He did this. As we quoted earlier from Philippians 2, perhaps you remembered how the serpent-crushing comes about: Jesus Christ, for whom equality with God was not something to be grasped, humbled Himself to become a man, and especially to die the death of the cross for our sins.

So, when John looks for this Lion that the elder has told him about in Revelation 5, what does he see? Not a Lion but a Lamb… and not just any Lamb, but a Lamb that appears that it has been slain!

It is this, specifically, Jesus’s saving us by shedding His blood for us, that makes heaven and earth explode with His praises! How have you, personally, responded to Jesus’s blood work?
What about Jesus and what He has done brings out your praise the most?
Suggested songs: ARP22A “My God, My God” or TPH358 “Sing Choirs of New Jerusalem”

Monday, May 4, 2020

2020.05.03 Morning Sermon—Genesis 25:19–26, "God's Glory Is Magnified by Election and Prayer"

God's glory is magnified in election (which is free, according to His mere pleasure and promise; and gracious over-against our sin) and prayer (wherein His knowledge, power, and goodness are worshiped). [mp3] [pdf].

2020.05.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 25:19–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose “genealogy” is this (Genesis 25:19)? How old is Isaac in Genesis 25:20? How does verse 20 identify Rebekah? What does Genesis 25:21 tell us that Isaac did for her? Why? How does Yahweh respond? What is happening within Rebekah in Genesis 25:22? How does she feel about this? How does she respond? What does Yahweh say are in her womb (Genesis 25:23)? What does He say will happen to them when they come out? How will they relate? And who will serve who? What days are completed in Genesis 25:24? What were there in her womb? How does the first come out (Genesis 25:25)? What do they call him? What does the brother do when he comes out in Genesis 25:26? What do they call him?  How old is Isaac at this point?
Our Lord reveals much about Himself in this passage.

First, He saves and chooses according to His good pleasure. Salvation is by His promise, not by man’s effort or choice. This is how the Holy Spirit Himself explains Genesis 25:23 in Romans 9:12.

Second, He often chooses that which is lesser and weak in order that all of the glory would be His alone. Jacob’s name, as much as his birth order, highlights God’s grace because it testifies to his sinful character.

Third, although He sovereignly rules and overrules in all things, He has ordained to do so in response to prayer. Isaac prays for his wife for 20 years, and Rebekah cries out in her despair, and the Lord listens to both. God glorifies not only His goodness by listening to the cries of His children but also His knowledge by bringing us to a realization of our need and His power by supplying our need.

Since we have a God who saves entirely because He is good, let us worship Him for salvation. And since we have a God who saves entirely by His grace, let us trust Him only (not trusting at all in our intentions or goodness or strength) and let us trust Him entirely (having an unshakeable confidence in this salvation, precisely because it depends upon Him rather than ourselves). And since we have a God who glorifies Himself and does us good through hearing and answering our prayers, let us be often in prayer to Him, and always with a view toward bringing Him glory.
How is God glorified in saving you? What are you praying for? How does this glorify Him?
Suggested songs: ARP65A “Praise Awaits You, God” or TPH65C “Praise Waits for Thee in Zion”