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)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

2021.02.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 13:22–35

Read Luke 13:22–35

Questions from the Scripture text: Through where did He go in Luke 13:22? Toward where? What was He doing? What did one ask Him (Luke 13:23)? What does Jesus tell them to strive to do (Luke 13:24)? What will many seek to do? With what result? If they have not entered when the Master shuts the door, what will happen (Luke 13:25)? What will they protest (Luke 13:26)? How will He answer: what will He say He doesn’t know (Luke 13:27)? What will He command them to do? What will He call them? What will there be (Luke 13:28)? Who will they see where? What will happen to them? From where will people come and do what (Luke 13:29)? What will some last be (Luke 13:30)? What will some first be? On what day does Luke 13:31 occur? Who come to Jesus? What do they tell Him to do? For what reason? What does Jesus call Herod (Luke 13:32)? What will Herod not be able to stop Jesus from doing for the two days? What will Herod not be able to stop Jesus from doing on the third day? So where is Jesus going and why (Luke 13:33)? Who had been sent to Jerusalem before (Luke 13:34)? What had Jesus wanted to do by sending them? What had they done to His messengers? What is going to be the ultimate outcome, now, of Jesus’s visit (Luke 13:35, cf. Luke 13:33)? When will they see Him? What will they say?

This entire passage is tied together by journeying toward Jerusalem (Luke 13:22Luke 13:33Luke 13:35b)—even the images of gates (Luke 13:24) and teaching in the streets (Luke 13:26) are drawn from the trip to Jerusalem and the time there.

But there’s a problem, as Jesus goes up to Jerusalem. It seems like a large number of Israelites are rejecting Him. So one asks, “Lord, are there few who are saved” (Luke 13:23)? It’s the same problem that the apostle is treating, when he deals with his “great sorrow and continual grief” of heart over how many of his “countrymen according to the flesh” are “accursed’ (cf. Romans 9:2–3). It is fitting that such great grief fills both passages.

So, the Lord Jesus doesn’t answer in the arena of election math (how many are saved) but rather in the necessity of having more than church membership and sacraments (“we ate and drank in Your presence,” Luke 13:26), sitting under many sound sermons (“You taught in our streets,” verse 26), and a covenantal understanding of one’s church membership (“Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets,” Luke 13:28). 

You can have all those things, but still be a personal stranger to Christ (“I do not know you,” Luke 13:25Luke 13:27) without a true and real union Him or citizenship in heaven (“where you are from,” verse 25, verse 27), as evidenced in being a “worker of iniquity” (verse 27) rather than a battler against it.

This is why Christ had sent prophets and preachers to Jerusalem (Luke 13:34a)—not to condemn them for their sin, but to gather them to Himself from that sin and against that sin, like a hen gathering her chicks (verse 34b). Indeed, such is the gathering-love of Christ that provokes repentance that they will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and take their seats (Luke 13:29) with the patriarchs and the prophets! Few? Few?! There will be a great multitude!

But it will be a very specific multitude. For each one of us, the place to begin is to see the gathering-love of Jesus, and turn to Him from our sin. To renounce being a worker of iniquity and take refuge under His wings. Then, we will rejoice with our Savior over the multitude who come. And, we will agonize with our Savior over the many who perish (Luke 13:34)—even as we vindicate the justice of God in it all (Luke 13:35).

Hell cannot stop the gathering work of Christ any more than Herod could stop Christ from His ministry (Luke 13:32), or His journey (Luke 13:33), or His death (end of verse 33), or His resurrection (end of verse 32). The resurrected Lord will surely gather to Himself all that are His, and then He will surely return in glory. The primary question for you is not mathematics, but whether He will be your Master when the door of opportunity has closed (Luke 13:25). Are you willing to be His (end of Luke 13:34)? Or would you rather continue as a worker of iniquity? 

How does your life show evidence of gathering to Jesus, hiding in Jesus, loving Jesus, & obeying Jesus?

Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH440 “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched”

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Promised Kingdom of the Desperately-Needed Christ-King (Family Worship in 2Samuel 5:1–16)

What holds together these accounts of the establishing and strengthening of God’s anointed king? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these sixteen verses, we find that each description recalls promises of the Satan-crushing, forever-reigning, all-nations-blessing Christ-King, Whom even David desperately needs.

2021.02.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 5:1–16

Read 2 Samuel 5:1–16

Questions from the Scripture text: Who came to whom where (2 Samuel 5:1)? What did they say they are? What had David done when Saul was king (2 Samuel 5:2)? What did they know Yahweh had said to David? Whose arrival at Hebron does 2 Samuel 5:3 specifically mention? What did David make with them? Before Whom? What did they do to David? How old was David when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4)? How long did he reign? How long in Hebron (2 Samuel 5:5)? How long in Jerusalem? Who went to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 5:6? Against whom? Whom did the Jebusites say would repel David? What did they think? Nevertheless, what did David do (2 Samuel 5:7)? What way did David say to climb up there (2 Samuel 5:8)? What did he say would be done for the one who defeated the Jebusites that way?  What did David call the hill when it was taken (2 Samuel 5:9)? What did he build? What did he become (2 Samuel 5:10)? Who was with him? Who sent messengers in 2 Samuel 5:11? With what three gifts? For what purpose? What did David know (2 Samuel 5:12)? What had Yahweh done to David? To His kingdom? For whose sake? What did David take to himself in 2 Samuel 5:13? With what result? Where were these born to him (2 Samuel 5:14)? How many sons total in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:14-16)? What were their names?

The Lord’s own purposes stand behind the rise and advance of His kingdom, even against all opposition external and internal. 

It’s been seven years of the eleven tribes not acknowledging David as king (2 Samuel 5:5). Were they not his bone and flesh all that time (2 Samuel 5:1)? Had they had military history amnesia for seven years, somehow forgetting the exploits that they now recall in 2 Samuel 5:2a? What the Spirit presents to us, even on the people’s lips, is that it is not the people’s relationship with David or recognition of David that is in control here. Yahweh had said “You shall shepherd My people Israel and be ruler over Israel” (verse 2b). 

So all the opposition of Saul and sluggishness of homage of the eleven tribes could not stop 2 Samuel 5:3–5 from coming. They may have anointed David king over Israel in 2 Samuel 5:3, but the anointing that sealed it all took place all the way back in 1 Samuel 16:13—and really, even further back in the eternal purpose and plan of God Himself.

We have the same message in 2 Samuel 5:6-14, where the nations come to bow to God’s anointed king—one way or another. Based upon the historical timing of the taking of Jerusalem and the rise of Hiram to the throne of Tyre, these events are much later than anything else in the chapter. So why are they here? To illustrate, again, that the kingdom is not merely a sequence of historical events with various political and military causes, but the fulfillment of God’s purposes and promises. 

The Jebusites were a tiny little clan (with an overinflated ego, 2 Samuel 5:6) inhabiting one hill in the entire land of Canaan, but they were included in a more prestigious list in Genesis 15:21. Why? So that when we come to 2 Samuel 5:7–8, we don’t say so much, “Ah, what an ingenious military plan by David!” But more, “Ah, what a faithful fulfillment of promise by Yahweh!”

Hiram came to power around 25 years after 2 Samuel 5:3, but with Abrahamic promises in the background, the international acclaim of David in 2 Samuel 5:11-12 hearkens back to Genesis 12:3—God cursing those who curse His people, and blessing those who bless His people, and David’s recognizing in 2 Samuel 5:12 not only that it was Yahweh who had established and exalted His kingdom in David, but especially that this was “For the sake of His people Israel.” 

Genesis 15. Genesis 12. Promises that come from the eternal, saving purpose of God and will not rest until Christ has come to save His people. And come again, with His saved people finally all gathered in and perfected. Promises that control the rise to power in 2 Samuel 5. Promises that control what is going on in the world today, and in your life this week, dear believer.

Promises that overcome even our folly and sin. 2 Samuel 5:13-14 resume (“more,” verse 13) list that began in 2 Samuel 3:2–5. And just in case we hadn’t caught the wickedness of it, the one who really stands out in this list is, “Solomon.” Many point to the fact that the birth of so many sons is a strengthening of David, building upon the theme of the rest of the chapter, and use this fact to justify the multiplication of concubines and wives. 

But isn’t the point just the opposite? Can you really read the rest of 2 Samuel with a “positive” view of the morality and consequences of the Bathsheba incident? The point here is not that David was justified in what he did, but rather that God is glorified in extending mercy and in accomplishing good, even in such folly and wickedness as 2 Samuel 5:13a. There is no glory unto David in the glory of David. There is only glory unto God!

Such a God whose mercy and power overrule the sin of those who belong to Him in Christ is surely worthy not of carelessness that presumes outcomes but rather love and zeal in obedience and service that respond to Him and to His promised outcomes! Shall we not also trust Him and respond with such love and zeal in obedience and service?

What promises did God make to Abraham and David that have already come true? What promises did God make that have not yet come true? How are they coming true in today’s world and in your life?

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Union with the Humbled-ly Justifying, Exaltedly Sanctifying Christ (Family Worship in Philippians 2:5–13)

How do we get the right mind, will, and working out of our salvation? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. In these nine verses, we learn that all of these come from union with the once-humbled, forever-exalted Christ.

2021.02.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 2:5–13

Read Philippians 2:5–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What mind are we to have in us (Philippians 2:5)? Who is in the form of God (Philippians 2:6)? What was not robbery for Christ Jesus? What form did He take (Philippians 2:7)? What likeness? How low did Jesus humble Himself (Philippians 2:8)? Who exalted Him (Philippians 2:9)? What name did He give Him? Which knees will bow at the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10)? What will every tongue confess (Philippians 2:11)? To whose glory? How does the apostle connect Philippians 2:12 to verse 11? What does he call them here? What have the Philippians always done? Under what circumstances? What are they to do? in what manner? Why (Philippians 2:13)? Who works where? To do what two things? For what?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Philippians 2:5–13, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Union with Thee

Union with Christ forms in us the mind of Christ, Philippians 2:5. Being transformed comes by the renewing of our minds (cf. Romans 12:2). We offer our bodies as living sacrifices (cf. Romans 12:1) by having in us the mind of Him who took a body to give Himself unto death as a sacrifice for us (Philippians 2:6-8).

Union with Christ joins us to Him in the atonement of His death (Philippians 2:8, cf. Romans 6:3–11) and in the power and purpose of His resurrection life (Philippians 2:9-11, cf. Romans 6:4b–11)—that God might be glorified in Christ’s being glorified by our living as His subjects and worshipers (cf. Romans 6:12–19). This is why…

Union with Christ demands that we be zealous for obedient holiness (Philippians 2:12). Though we often think of Philippians 2:12-13 in isolation from Philippians 2:3-11, the apostle joins them with a “therefore.” It is the worthiness of this Jesus Whose mind we have, and by union to Whom we are saved, that demands this holy zeal for working out that salvation.

Union with Christ guarantees the success of that zeal, Philippians 2:13. We lack the willing, but God works in us to will. We lack the doing, but God works in us to do. It pleases Him to produce in us that which pleases Him!

Dear believer, everything that you (newly) are, and everything that you must do depends entirely upon your being united to Christ through faith. This is why such a heavy focus of your Christian life ought to be upon those particular means that He has appointed by which He graciously works out in you your union with Himself. 

In action, the ordinary means of grace are acts of devotion (worship by Word, sacrament, and prayer weekly in the assembly and by Word and prayer daily in the home). But in function, they are especially acts of dependence (coming to Christ, for Christ Himself, because we have no goodness or strength in ourselves). 

He gains nothing by our worship, but when He gives us Himself by that worship, not only does He magnify Himself in the worship, but also all the glory for any good in us redounds all the more unto Him!

How are you saved? How can you love others well? How can you love God well? What then should you do?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH448 “Union with Thee”