Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Intergenerational Fellowship for Discipleship, Lord's Day Prep, etc. (2020.11.14 Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – November 14, 2020

Dear Congregation,

I’ve been thinking a lot about our covenant children this week, preparing the devotional (and evening sermon for the 22nd) from Ephesians 6:1–3. How blessed we are in them! How high is God’s calling upon them! How great is God’s grace to them!

And we greatly desire that grace for them; how very much they need it, since they have us for parents. Thankfully, God’s grace toward us as parents is also great, which we need, since He has assigned unto us their training and instruction.

As I think about the task before us, there are a couple texts from Proverbs that keep coming to mind.

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
Proverbs 13:20

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”
Proverbs 22:15

If we recognize that our children are recovering fools, we should be eager for them to walk with the wise. Are we helping them take advantage of opportunities to spend time with wiser saints?

One way of doing so would be keeping families together more during fellowship times—not as a rigid rule, but as a general strategy—so that they are drawn into the fellowship that the dads and moms are having. Another way of doing so is encouraging them to target specific older, mature saints with whom to build a relationship week by week. It's a joy to see some families/children already taking these approaches, and it would do us well to see more of it.

Of course, it’d be a pretty heavy burden to lay this duty upon them. If the families and the older saints don’t seek them out, then we’ll likely find defacto children’s-group and youth-group pockets forming here and there during our fellowship times. And we wouldn’t be able to fault them for it.

Ultimately, the most important thing for them is to attend well upon God’s own appointed means by which He works His grace. First and foremost: Word, sacrament, and prayer in the public worship. Second, the discipline and instruction of the Lord from dad and mom in the home, especially as it flows out of and into family worship.

But, there is also that mutual strengthening in intentional congregational fellowship that we have been learning about in Ephesians 4–5. Of course, it’s something that they can do to some extent with one another, but it is especially upon us to be modeling it for them as we do it with them.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s portion of growing up together into Christ our Head,

Pastor

Heavenly Training in Prayer of Adoration (2020.11.11 Prayer Meeting Devotional in Revelation 5:9–14)

It's discouraging to come to adore God in prayer and be unable to find the words. By noting some patterns in the prayers of adoration in glory from Revelation 5, we may arm ourselves with a number of things to reflect upon in order to adore the Lord well in prayer.

2020.11.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 37:12–36

Read Genesis 37:12–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did who go in Genesis 37:12? Who sends whom to them (Genesis 37:13)? What did Israel want (Genesis 37:14)? What difficulty/delay does Joseph have to navigate (Genesis 37:15-17)? Who sees whom first (Genesis 37:18)? What do they decide to do (Genesis 37:18-20)? Who hears it (Genesis 37:21)? What does he do? What does he say? What alternative plan does he propose in Genesis 37:22? What do they add to the plan in Genesis 37:23-24? What do they do with Joseph in the pit ? What do they see (Genesis 37:25)? Who proposes a change now (Genesis 37:26)? What problem does he propose with the original plan? What does he suggest to do instead (Genesis 37:27)? What do they end up doing (Genesis 37:28)? Who returns in Genesis 37:29? What does he see? What does he do? Whom does he ask what in Genesis 37:30? What do they do now (Genesis 37:31, cf. Genesis 37:20)? Whom do they ask what in Genesis 37:32)? What does he determine has happened (Genesis 37:33)? How does he respond (Genesis 37:34)? Who rise to do what in Genesis 37:35? How does he respond? What details does Genesis 37:36 give against the backdrop of the mourning in verse 35?

This passage gives us several clues to point us to the limitations of man.

First, man cannot stop the purpose of God. By their calling Joseph “dreamer” in Genesis 37:19 and laying down the challenge in Genesis 37:20, “We shall see what will become of his dreams!” the brothers establish the challenge. Little do they know that they are actually being used by God to fulfill the very dreams they are trying to thwart! You cannot stop God’s plans for you or anyone else. No one else can stop God’s plans for you. 

Second, man cannot save in the place of God. Genesis 37:21 tells us “Reuben delivered him out of their hands.” And Genesis 37:22 explains what he said by saying “that he might deliver him out of their hands.” But, Reuben cannot save in the place of God, as testified by his torn garments in Genesis 37:29 and despairing question in Genesis 37:30. There are so many good things that we want to accomplish in this world, but they are beyond us. Like Reuben, we may do that which is commendable—and may God keep us faithful—but only God can accomplish the desired results.

Finally, man cannot see the plans of God. Jacob was inconsolable. After all that the Lord has brought him through. After all that the Lord had guaranteed him by promise. After all that the Lord has surrounded him with. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t be comforted, but that he refused to be comforted. He was determined to do nothing but grieve until he died (Genesis 37:35). 

Jacob was so certain of his interpretation of the circumstances “without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” Really? Without doubt? The Holy Spirit hits us with the subtle data report from down south: “Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard” (Genesis 37:36). Things are not as they seem to Jacob. Things are often not as they seem to us. But they are always as the Lord has planned for His glory and the good of those whom He is saving in Christ.

What will God certainly accomplish for you? What has He given you to do, that only He can make successful?

Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious”


Friday, November 13, 2020

2020.11.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 9:46–56

Read Luke 9:46–56

Questions from the Scripture text: About what did a dispute arise (Luke 9:46)? Whom does Jesus set before them (Luke 9:47)?  Whom do they receive if they receive a child in His Name (Luke 9:48)? Who will be great? Who answered in Luke 9:49? What did he see? And do? Why? What does Jesus say to do (Luke 9:50)? Why not? What time had now come in Luke 9:51a? What did Jesus now do (verse 51b)? Who would not now receive Him and why (Luke 9:52-53)? Now what did James and John want to do (Luke 9:54)? Who rebukes them (Luke 9:55)? Why (Luke 9:56)?

The question of whether or not we are receiving Jesus can appear in surprising places in our lives.

Whether we are receiving Christ appears in rivalry among believers (Luke 9:46). Competing to be the greatest betrays that we haven’t quite received how far above all of us is Christ and His greatness.

Whether we are receiving Christ appears in how we treat His children (Luke 9:48). If they are His, then receiving or not receiving them is really a receiving or not receiving Him. 

Whether we are receiving Christ appears in our willingness to acknowledge believers other than the ones who follow with us(Luke 9:49). This is not to say that right doctrine and practice are not important. That kind of “he who is not with us” is against Christ (cf. Luke 11:23). 

Whether we are receiving Christ appears in our willingness for Him to save others, and for us possibly to suffer with Him (Luke 9:53). The Samaritans didn’t get along with the Jews, and it’s possible that they also didn’t want any part of the trouble that Jesus was about to get into.

Whether we are receiving Christ appears in our patience under hatred. James and John didn’t have this patience (Luke 9:54), but this gave them a very different attitude than Christ (Luke 9:55). 

Jesus steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), because He came not to destroy but to save (Luke 9:56). He will, most certainly, sit enthroned as Judge one day and carry out His wrath and vengeance upon them. But this is not why He came. He came to save. He came to receive by His death and resurrection those who receive Him by faith.

Toward whom ought you to be more receptive, as someone who is receiving Christ? 

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH405 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”


Thursday, November 12, 2020

2020.11.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:25–33

Read Ephesians 5:25–33

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle address in Ephesians 5:25? What does he tell them to do? To whom? Like Whom? To whom? In doing what? Unto what purpose did Christ give Himself for the church (Ephesians 5:26)? By what does He sanctify and “cleanse her with the washing of water”? For what does she need this cleansing (Ephesians 5:27a)? From what does she need this cleansing (verse 27b)? Which wives should husbands love (Ephesians 5:28)? As what to him is she to be loved? What does a man do who loves his wife? What does Ephesians 5:29 say “no one ever hated”? What does a man ordinarily do with his own flesh? Who else does this with whom? What does Ephesians 5:30 call believers? What specifics does verse 30 add to “His body” (cf. Genesis 2:23)? What does Ephesians 5:31 quote in this context of talking about Christ and the church (cf. Mark 10:1–12; 1 Corinthians 6:12–20)? What does Ephesians 5:32 call it? What does the apostle say the mystery is about? To what does he now return to applying this mystery (Ephesians 5:33a)? Whom does verse 33b say the wife should reverence?

How did Christ love the church? That’s a vital question to see answered, if we are going to understand what husbands are being commanded to do in Ephesians 5:25.

Christ loved the church by giving Himself. He did many things for the church. He gave many things to the church. But the greatest thing He gave for her is Himself. Let husbands remember this. They ought to be willing to do anything for their wives and give anything good to their wives. But let them be sure to give their own self for them.

Christ loved the church with a view toward her eternal good. He wants her to be glorified. He wants her to be presented to Him perfectly enabled to enjoy Him. Therefore, His love drives her sanctification. The Word is pictured in Ephesians 5:26 as cleansing water, and He patiently, persistently cleanses His bride unto her eternal, perfect enjoyment of Him.

There is not, here, a perfect parallel. The earthly husband is not the greatest good for his wife. Christ is that greatest good. A husband is tempted to aim at being his wife’s great pleasure, and a wife may mistakenly desire the same. But the godly husband will aim at her finding Christ as her pleasure and aim. 

Such a husband will devote himself to his wife’s being enabled to attend upon the means of grace in private, family, and public worship. He will be careful of her doctrine, speak to her heart in instruction or correction, directing her always to her Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ loved the church as being His own flesh and bones. The mystery of why the woman was created from the man’s rib is finally solved in Ephesians 5:28-30: in order to look forward to the incarnation and to vital union with Christ. “Of His flesh and of His bones” is an amazing thing for Ephesians 5:30 to say, just as “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” is an amazing thing for Acts 20:28 to say. God has blood? The Lord has flesh and bones? Yes, in order that He might marry the church to Himself as His cherished, nourished bride.

How sharply a man ought to sting from his wife’s pain, enjoy her pleasure, ache with her hunger, be laid low by her illness. How opposite this is to the unfeelingness at some times, and even rivalry at others, that men have toward their wives! Such is not reflective of Christ’s treasuring the church as His own flesh and bone.

Yes, the wife ought to reverence (the word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 is the word for “fear”) her husband. And, we dealt with this submission and obedience in Ephesians 5:22-24. But, it will be that much easier for her to do so if each particular husband (no exceptions! Ephesians 5:32) loves his own wife as himself.

How can a boy discipline himself in selflessness and eternal-mindedness, to prepare to be the kind of husband described here? What are some obvious applications of this passage that are too rare in how husbands love their wives these days?

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH128B “Blest the Man Who Fears Jehovah”


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

2020.11.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 23:1–13

Read 1 Samuel 23:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom did people tell when the Philistines were attacking and robbing Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1)? Whom did David ask about it (1 Samuel 23:2)? What did He answer? Who answered differently (1 Samuel 23:3)? On what grounds? What does David then do (1 Samuel 23:4)? What additional info does he receive in the second response? What does David do in 1 Samuel 23:5? How do 1 Samuel 23:2 and 1 Samuel 23:5 summarize what he did? What does 1 Samuel 23:6 now mention about 1 Samuel 22:20? What does Saul think is the reason/result of David going to Keilah (1 Samuel 23:7)? What does Saul now do—that he hadn’t done when Keilah was being attacked and robbed by Philistines(!) (1 Samuel 23:8)? For what does David ask in 1 Samuel 23:9? What does he use it to ask in 1 Samuel 23:10-11? What is Yahweh’s answer? What does he ask in 1 Samuel 23:12? What does Yahweh answer? What does David to in 1 Samuel 23:13, with what result?

The crown doesn’t matter at all, by comparison to the presence and blessing of Yahweh. David has a ragtag group that is now up to six hundred men (1 Samuel 23:13), but the people are still coming to him to help Keilah instead of coming to Saul (1 Samuel 23:1).

Part of the reason is that it is Yahweh, ultimately, who saves. And David inquires of Him (1 Samuel 23:2a), and Yahweh answers him (verse 2b). 

By comparison, Saul has been abandoned by the Word of Yahweh, instead asking anyone and everyone for intel on David, and rarely getting any useful response. As far as the text lets us know, the first he hears of the situation in Keilah is when news of David’s saving them arrives in 1 Samuel 23:7.

The Lord is with David, and He is patient with David. When David balks at the reaction of his men in 1 Samuel 23:3, even after being told by the Lord what to do in 1 Samuel 23:2, the Lord not only repeats the command but attaches a promise to it: “I will deliver the Philistines into your hand” (1 Samuel 23:4).

David is under siege from Saul (1 Samuel 23:11), and escapes the treachery of those whom he just saved only by the Lord’s forewarning him (1 Samuel 23:12). But the Lord is with him, not only to save him, but to make David useful in the Lord’s saving others.

Dear believer, you have the Word of the Lord. And not just a priest with an official ephod (1 Samuel 23:6), but your Great High Priest on the throne of heaven. Whoever attacks you, whoever betrays you, you can trust in this Lord and be useful in His work.

Who is attacking you? Who has let you down? What comforts do you have? Whom is the Lord using you to help? 

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd”


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

2020.11.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 72:12–19

Read Psalm 72:12–19

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom will the Messianic King deliver (Psalm 72:12)? When? What two other groups will He deliver? Whom will He spare (Psalm 72:13a)? What will He do to their souls (verse 13b)? What will He do to their life (Psalm 72:14)? What will be precious in His sight? What will characterize Him (Psalm 72:15a, cf. Hebrews 7:8)? What will be given to Him? What will be made for Him? What will happen daily? What will there be (Psalm 72:16)? In what places? What will continue forever (Psalm 72:17)? What will it outlive? By what will men bless? Who will call Him blessed? Whom does Psalm 72:18 bless for this King? What kind of thing does it call His kingship (verse 18b)? How long and wide and rich is His glory (Psalm 72:19)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Psalm 72:12–19, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Jesus Shall Reign.

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, of all those in authority within their domains. But 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 will 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! So, authorities ought not only seek to administer justly in their sphere, but bring the gospel to all who are entrusted to them, praying with them for Christ’s ultimate kingdom fully to come.

If we are genuinely longing and praying in anticipation of the ultimate reign of King Jesus, we can do so with confidence and joy, since it is absolutely sure to come. Not only is it the ultimate plan of God for this world (cf. Psalm 2), but we now live in that age in which the resurrected King sits already on the throne of heaven. So, whether in authority (and all of us are under it!) or not, let us joyously serve and trust King Jesus, while His kingdom hastens to come.

What result of this Psalm hasn’t come yet? How are you praying and working for it? Rejoicing over it?

Suggested songs: ARP180 “Christ Shall Have Dominion” or TPH417 “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun”


Monday, November 9, 2020

Submitting to Christ on the Question of a Wife's Submission to Her Husband (2020.11.08 Evening Sermon in Ephesians 5:22–24)

In these three verses, we find the glorious role God has given Spirit-filled wives in displaying the power and reign of King Jesus.

Day of Worship 7, The Reformed Application of the Law: Applying the 4th Commandment Jesus’s Way (2020.11.08 Sabbath School)

When we apply the fourth commandment in the way that Jesus taught us to apply all of the commandments, we realize that the Isaiah 58 understanding of the Sabbath had always been, and always will be, the proper understanding of how to apply the fourth commandment to heart, speech, and behavior.

When They Hate You: Hated Servants Useful in the Hands of a Hated Savior (2020.11.08 Morning Sermon in Genesis 37:1–11)



It is God’s way to make His perfect salvation come through those hated by the ones He is saving. He has always done this with His servants, and most supremely with His Son.

2020.11.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 37:1–11

Read Genesis 37:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What two things is Jacob’s dwelling land called in Genesis 37:1? How does Genesis 37:2 introduce the next section of Genesis? Whom does the text, then, immediately mention? How old is he? What is he doing? Which brothers, specifically, does he tell on? To whom? What does Genesis 37:3 call Jacob? How did he relate to Joseph? Why? What else did he do for him? Who saw this favoritism (Genesis 37:4)? How did they feel about Joseph for this? What couldn’t they even do? What did Joseph have in Genesis 37:5? Whom did he tell about it? How did they feel about Joseph for telling? What did he ask them to do in Genesis 37:6? What were they doing in the dream (Genesis 37:7)? What did Joseph’s sheaf do? What do their sheaves do? What do his brothers ask in response (Genesis 37:8)? And how do they feel about him for his dream? What happens in Genesis 37:9? Whom does he tell? What was the content of this dream? Whom else does he tell, along with them, in Genesis 37:10? How does his father respond? What does he ask? How does Genesis 37:11 summarize the family relationships?

Being hated is what we deserve. Hating and being hated is the condition in which we begin (cf. Titus 3:3). 

But it is part of God’s amazing gospel that this is what He has given His Son to endure for our sakes. As Jesus teaches in the parable of the vineyard and the wicked servants, God sent a stream of other servants ahead of His Son, who were abused in anticipation of what would be done to Christ.

This passage’s emphasis upon Joseph being hated points us forward to Christ being hated.

So, we respond by marveling that Christ subjected Himself to being hated for our sakes. He Whose rightful place is to receive the adoration of that glorious host in heaven. Yet, He took the form of a slave, and subjected Himself to the mocking, scoffing, abuse, and death of the cross. 

And, we rejoice that God was accomplishing our salvation through His Son’s being hated. He Who is the eternally beloved Son. He who knew no sin even became sin, so that we might be saved. He was forsaken so that we might be declared righteous and lovingly adopted.

And, we expect that we will not be treated any better than our Master. Indeed, there are many Christ-like qualities that are endearing. But the more we are associated with Christ, and the more that we are like Him, the more that those who are rejecting and hating Him and our heavenly Father will reject and hate us. Let us bear it patiently and not be surprised. The Lord Jesus tells us in advance that we will be hated.

And, we hope that God will be pleased to use us in saving even those who hate us—as He did through Joseph and through Moses, and ultimately through Christ. How many times—both before and after Christ—the Lord has been pleased to save people through the very ones whom they had been hating! What an opportunity for Christlikeness we have when we are hated for Christ’s sake. 

And, whether or not the Lord is pleased to save them, still the blessing is ours: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12).

What reception did Christ have in this world? What did this gain for you? When can you imitate Him in this? 

Suggested songs: ARP22A “My God, My God” or TPH352 “Man of Sorrows, What a Name!”