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); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Friday, November 26, 2021

Christ's Death's Infinite Worth for Us (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 24:17–25)

Why the extended interaction and negotiation about the site and the sacrifice? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 24:17–25 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s hand was against Christ on account of our sin, that God paid an infinite cost for this sacrifice, and that God has accepted this sacrifice to remove from us our guilt and punishment and to listen to our prayers.
(click here to DOWNLOAD mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.11.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 24:17–25

Read 2 Samuel 24:17–25 

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom did David speak (2 Samuel 24:17)? Whom had he seen? Doing what? What two things does David say about himself? What does he call the people? What does he ask about them? What request does David make? What two objects does he ask that Yahweh’s hand be against? How is the latter ultimately true? Through whom does God respond (2 Samuel 24:18)? Where does he tell David to go? What does he say to set up there? Unto Whom? According to what does David respond (2 Samuel 24:19)? But Who has commanded it? In 2 Samuel 24:20, who “looks”? Whom does he see doing what? Where does Araunah go? What does he do? Before whom? To what extent? What does Araunah ask (2 Samuel 24:21)? What does David say he wants to buy from Araunah? In order to build what? For what outcome? But how does Araunah preface his offer (2 Samuel 24:22)? What three additional things does he offer? At what cost does Araunah offer all of this (2 Samuel 24:23a)? And what is his desire in offering these things (verse 23b)? What does the king insist that he will do (2 Samuel 24:24a)? What does the king insist that he will not do (verse 24b)? What does David buy from Araunah at what price? What does David build (2 Samuel 24:25)? What does he offer? What does Yahweh heed? What happens in response? 

The LORD has already stopped the plague, and now He allows David to see the Angel. The one through whom the LORD had begun to chasten Israel (cf. 2 Samuel 24:1) now becomes the mediator for Israel. We never were able to answer the question in 2 Samuel 24:17, “what have they done?” Surely, Israel had done wickedly, despite David’s question. But his request would be answered. 

The LORD’s hand would indeed be against David’s Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s immediate response is to send Gad the prophet (2 Samuel 24:18) with instruction to erect an altar. We see a little here about the inspiration of Scripture. The words come out of Gad’s mouth (2 Samuel 24:19a), but it is the command of Yahweh (verse 19b). 

David wants to buy the threshing floor (2 Samuel 24:21). Araunah wants to give him more (2 Samuel 24:22a) but free of cost (verse 22b). But David refuses to offer a burnt offering that costs him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). On the one hand, this reflects the marvelous costliness at which the LORD purchases the salvation to which that sacrifice points. On the other hand, we are reminded that the sacrifice that cost Christ everything must by necessity cost us nothing. 

Looking forward to Christ, David’s sacrifices are accepted (2 Samuel 24:25), and salvation comes not just to Israelites but to foreigners who have been joined to Israel. Foreigners like a Jebusite, whose land the LORD specifically chose for this sacrifice (2 Samuel 24:18). A foreigner who received the king of Israel as his own king (2 Samuel 24:20-21). A foreigner who was willing to give all that he has to the LORD for the LORD’s cause (2 Samuel 24:22-23a). A foreigner whose hope was in the LORD accepting Israel’s mediator (verse 23b).The LORD’s Christ still receives foreigners as subjects and mediates for them as Priest. 

Christ gave a sacrifice, at infinite price. He atoned for sin, turned away God’s wrath, and is gathering to Himself subjects whom He redeems from all the nations. 

What has God paid for your forgiveness? What can you pay for it? But how much should you be willing to give in response to that? What is a specific way you can go about doing that? 

Sample prayer: O Lord, truly we have done wickedly, and yet You have chosen us in Christ to be Your sheep. Against Yourself, You have taken the penalty for our sin. Forgive us for when we think we could ever participate in making up for our sin—or when we are unwilling to deny ourselves and offer our bodies as living sacrifices in response to Your mercy. Help us, we pray, to be Christ’s glad subjects, which we ask through HIM, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH354“Not All the Blood of Beasts”

Thursday, November 25, 2021

2021.11.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 2:16–19

Read Colossians 2:16–19 

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom should believers let judge them in these matters (Colossians 2:16)? What five matters are named? Is the fifth one singular, or plural? What does Colossians 2:17 say these plural sabbaths, and these other four things, were? Who gave these “shadows” and where? When would the body, to which these shadows belonged, come? Who is the body to which they belonged? Of what might believers be cheated (Colossians 2:18)? Whom should they permit to cheat them? In what two things might such cheat-ing religion delight? Into what might such cheat-ing religion intrude? What kind of mind does such religion demonstrate? What does this fleshly mind do to a man? What does holding fast either to shadows or to manmade ideas in religion keep us from holding fast to (Colossians 2:19)? 

 What sorts of things threaten to keep us from holding fast to Christ? 

Holding to shadows and outward forms, Colossians 2:16-17. The Mosaic administration had food laws, feast days, and sabbaths that were shadows of Christ. In every age, there have been Christians who were tempted to observe such regulations—and even those who have judged others for not keeping them. But finding meaning in the shadow, after Christ has come, is a diversion from clinging to Him Who is the Substance (body). Rather than the multiple high-day sabbaths of the Jewish calendar, they were to cling to Him Who revealed Himself as the LORD of that Sabbath which had been instituted even in the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, Christ is even more obviously the Substance of such ordinances as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and especially the New Testament Sabbath, which Scripture actually calls “the Lord’s Day.” We must be careful to engage Him Himself in these ordinances and not focus on the rites and external forms. 

Observing man-made religion, Colossians 2:18. If we are to beware of missing Christ Himself as the Substance of biblical religion, much more must we resist any religion whatsoever that hasn’t been given to us by God. For, we cannot give Christ to ourselves. What fools we would be if we invented religious things to do and claimed that the substance of them was Christ! It’s ironic to come up with rituals that purport to express or foster humility (Colossians 2:18), when the very coming up with it is an act of arrogance—taking for oneself the divine prerogative of inventing religion. False teachers had introduced such things in Colossians, as well as the worship of angels. But how could a fleshly mind create true religion, when we have no access to genuinely spiritual things “which he has not seen”? 

These are things that cheat us, Colossians 2:19 (Colossians 2:18a). From Christ, our Head, alone is the whole body nourished. From Christ alone is the whole body knit together. From Christ alone can the whole body grow. God alone gives the growth, and He has given that growth in Christ alone. Adding anything because it feels meaningful, or we think it feeds us or grows us, is to cheat ourselves of Christ. 

Hold fast to Christ, the Substance—Christ, our Head! 

What are some man-invented religious observances that people today think are spiritually meaningful or helpful? Why is it so important not to observe them? 

Sample prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You have given Yourself to be our spiritual life in Jesus Christ. You alone can give life and growth, but we cheat ourselves and let others cheat us by failing to engage Christ in the religion that He has commanded. Even worse, we have even thought that manmade religious days and actions could have spiritual value. Forgive us, O Lord, and make us to cling instead to Christ. For we ask it through Him, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH354“Not All the Blood of Beasts"

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

2021.11.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 9:8–12

Read Exodus 9:8–12 

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does Yahweh speak in Exodus 9:8? What does He tell them to take? From where? Who is to scatter it? Toward where? In the sight of whom? What will the ashes become (Exodus 9:9)? Where? What did it cause? One whom and what? Where? What did they take (Exodus 9:10)? From where? Before whom? Who scattered them? Toward where? And what did the ashes cause? On whom and what? In Exodus 9:11, who were now unable to do what? On what men, specifically, were the boils? But what did Yahweh do (Exodus 9:12)? And what didn’t Pharaoh do? Just as what? 

We sinners justly deserve God’s wrath, which makes it so glorious when instead we receive His mercy! 

This justness is on display when (as with the third plague, cf. Exodus 8:16) the LORD skips the ordinary command (“let My people go that they may serve Me”) and warning (“but if you do not let them go, I will…”). Indeed the Lord could immediately cast Pharaoh and all Egypt (and all Israel!) into Hell, and He would have been righteous and just to do so. And the Lord would have been righteous and just to cast you, dear reader, immediately into Hell. But He has not done so, for here you sit, reading His Word and this little exposition of that Word. 

This brief account proclaims the justness of what the LORD is doing in at least two more ways. One is the source of the ashes that Moses is commanded to throw (Exodus 9:8Exodus 9:10). The furnaces in Egypt were brick kilns and represented the Israelites’ slavery and subjugation. 

The bricks had also featured prominently in Pharaoh’s initial, rebellious response to Yahweh’s identification of Israel as His servants rather than Pharaoh’s (cf. Exodus 6:6–19). A third display of Yahweh’s justness in this brief plague account is what comes upon the magicians of Egypt. They, too, had figured prominently in Egypt’s resistance to the signs and punishments by which the LORD had exerted His glory (cf. Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:7, Exodus 8:18–19). We have not seen or heard from them in the past couple plagues; their entire role in this episode is being unable even to stand before Moses now (Exodus 9:11). 

Under every pain, we would do well to identify ways in which that chastening would have been just the beginning of a perfectly just penalty from the Lord for our sin. Often, there is some providential detail—some specific thing in the situation—by which the Lord highlights His justness to us. But this much emphasizes to us His mercy. 

It is marvelous that the Lord is merciful even to Pharaoh here. He specifically commands that Pharaoh should witness this with his own eyes (end of Exodus 9:8), and Moses obeys (Exodus 9:10). God gives Pharaoh the opportunity to see his own wickedness against the backdrop of God’s power and justness. But this mercy heaps coals of fire upon Pharaoh’s head (cf. Proverbs 25:21–22, Romans 12:20) because apart from restraining or regenerating grace, when the Lord causes Pharaoh’s heart to set in its current condition (Exodus 9:12a), he rejects even this mercy of God (verse 12b). 

How about you, dear reader? Seek from the Lord the twin mercies of an opportunity to see your sin in light of Him and the mercy of a softened heart that is not justly set in its sinful condition! 

There is also great mercy here to Moses and to Israel. This hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was an integral part of the LORD’s promise to redeem His people (cf. Exodus 4:21). The fact that this is going “according to plan” strengthens assurance of their redemption and inflames adoration of their Redeemer. 

But the greatest mercy is to us who have come to know that Jesus is both Yahweh and Christ. For, the deliverance from Egypt (to which Pharaoh’s hardening was vital) was itself an integral part of the Lord coming into the world as the Christ, so that He might bear for us the Hell that we justly deserved and might redeem us by His precious blood! 

What current circumstances make you cry out for (and thankful to be sure of) God’s just wrath? How are you responding the calls of His Word and work for your own repentance? Where can you get the mercy of a softened heart in order to respond better? 

Sample prayer: Glorious, Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we praise You for the perfect justice in which You vindicate Yourself upon all the wicked. And how greatly we have deserved the condemnation ourselves. But we adore You all the more that You have shown us mercy instead. In that very mercy, grant Your Spirit’s blessed work upon our hearts that we might be softened unto repentance and might rejoice in Your redeeming us through Christ, through Whom also we pray this, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH340“There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Grace in the Midst of Chastening (2021.11.21 Evening Sermon in 2Samuel 24:11–16)

When a chastened sinner receives God's Word, that's grace. God provokes David to make a request known to Him about which kind of chastening to receive; so also we are urged to come with confidence to His throne of grace. Finally, God's gracious mercy relents even in the midst of chastening—something which we may hope for under any chastening, because this is the sort of God Who has taken us for Himself.
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How We Can See Christ's Glory (2021.11.21 Morning Sermon in Luke 24:13–35)


Christ, Who so desires that we would see His glory, accomplished that desire in His life by suffering and death and resurrection, and accomplishes that desire in our life by His Word, sacrament, and Spirit.

(click here to DOWNLOAD video/mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

WCF 16.2.6, Good Works Silence Enemies (2021.11.21 Sabbath School in 1Peter 2:11–25)

Even if good works are not used of God to silence our enemies through conversion now, they will especially shame and silence our enemies in their condemnation on the last day.
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2021.11.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 4:14–16

Read Hebrews 4:14–16 

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is our great High Priest ( Hebrews 4:14)? Through what has He passed? To what, then, should we hold fast? What do we not have, according to Hebrews 4:15? Like whom was Jesus tempted? In how many points was He tempted as we are? What is the difference between Jesus’ response to temptation and ours? To where, then, should we come (Hebrews 4:16)? In what manner should we come to the throne? What kind of throne is it for us? What do we hope to obtain and find at the throne? When should we come to the throne of grace for mercy and grace? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Song of Adoration come from Hebrews 4:14–16, so that we may see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Behold the Throne of Grace! 

In this Scripture, we see that we must hold fast to our confession of Jesus as our High Priest—that is, to hold fast to Jesus Himself. We do so because He is worthy, and because we are needy. 

First, He is worthy. Jesus is the Son of God (Hebrews 4:14), and so there is no more powerful or glorious High Priest possible. 

Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness, with our neediness, so there is no more appropriate High Priest possible. He was made like us in every way, and in all points tempted as we are. 

And, Jesus is sinless, so there is no more effective High Priest possible. He does not have sin of His own to cleanse, and He offers Himself as the actual perfect sacrifice. The unspottedness of the former sacrifices could only hint at that perfection which is a reality in Christ. Whatever Jesus does on our behalf in glory is always effective. 

Second, He is gracious. In our union with Christ, we come together all the way to the throne of glory. What do we find there? That the throne of glory is for us a throne of grace. Our Mediator, our great High Priest, is not bowed down before the throne. He is seated upon it! 

The wonder of all of this is that we do not have to wait until we are strong or pure to go there. And that is good, because right now is our time of need. Right now is when we need mercy. Right now is when we need grace. Right now is when we need help. And right now, already, we may come. 

When and how do we do that? Every time that we pray, we do that. But we especially do it when we are together, gathered as His church, gathered as those who confess Him together. 

Which do you forget about most easily: Jesus’ power, sympathy, or sinlessness? How will you go about learning and reminding yourself of it, to help you hold fast to Him? 

Sample prayer: O Lord Jesus, You are worthy! You are God from all eternity, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit, one God from everlasting to everlasting. And You humbled Yourself to become like us in every way, except without sin. How marvelous that You can sympathize with our weakness! Indeed, weak we are. And wicked. Yet, through Your blood our guilt has been eliminated. And, in Your divine life and resurrection power, we have abundant provision for all our need. So, help us by Your Spirit to make liberal use of Your throne of grace, and grant us the faith to know You Yourself there, in Your gracious provision, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP183 “Under His Wings” or TPH522 “Behold, the Throne of Grace!”

Monday, November 22, 2021

2021.11.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:13–35

Read Luke 24:13–35

Questions from the Scripture text: How many of whom were traveling where (Luke 24:13)? What were they doing on the way (Luke 24:14)? Who drew near (Luke 24:15)? What did He do? What was done to them, with what result (Luke 24:16)? What did Jesus ask (Luke 24:17)? What did He note about them? Who answered (Luke 24:18)? What does he ask? With what question does Jesus respond (Luke 24:19)? What did they call Jesus? What did they say had been done to Him by whom (Luke 24:20)? But what had they hoped (Luke 24:21)? And why do they think this hope has disappointed? To whom does he refer in Luke 24:22? What does he say they had done? By saying what (Luke 24:23)? And had others done (Luke 24:24)? What does Jesus say about them for this (Luke 24:25)? What does He ask (Luke 24:26)? Where does He begin in Luke 24:27? And through how many of the Spirit-inspired books of the Old Testament does He take them? What does He specifically explain? To where do they draw near (Luke 24:28)? What does He indicate? But how do they respond in Luke 24:29? What are they doing in Luke 24:30? What does He do? What happens to their eyes (Luke 24:31)? What doe they know? And what happens to Him? What do they ask one another (Luke 24:32)? What do they do when (Luke 24:33)? Where do they go? Whom do they find? Whom else? What do the disciples in Jerusalem tell them (Luke 24:34)? And what do Cleopas and his friend tell them (Luke 24:35a)? What detail really stuck out to them (verse 35b)?

Sometimes the Scriptures catch our attention by a surprising response. These disciples seem distressed and disappointed. The initial discussion is pretty animated with the “conversing and reasoning” in Luke 24:15. Then their explanation is dejected in Luke 24:19-24 with the “But we were hoping” of Luke 24:21. To distressed and disappointed disciples, we might have expected some sympathy, but Jesus’s response is, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe!” (Luke 24:25). Surprising.

But often, when what we desire is sympathy, what we need is rebuke. While they were incredulous that Jesus didn’t seem to understand them, their real problem was that they had not understood His Word.

And if we haven’t seen that the Bible is about Christ—Christ crucified and Christ glorified—then we haven’t understood His Word either. That’s what the whole Bible is about: “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets […] all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). 

“If only I could see Jesus.”

Well, Jesus was there. But what they needed was to hear Jesus (His teaching from all the Scriptures) and for Jesus to make Himself known to them in the breaking of the bread. How often we feel like we want a particular experience of Christ, but what we really need is to attend upon His ordinary means! He is the One Whom makes Himself known to us, and He has chosen the means by which to do so. When we are distressed and disappointed, what we need is to believe all that Christ has spoken in His Word and by that Word, together with His sacrament, to know Him.

May His Spirit grant that our hearts would burn within us while He talks to us (Luke 24:32) and that we would know Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35).

Over what have you been distressed and disappointed? What do you need in the midst of that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You filled Your Word with truth about Yourself, Your crucifixion, and Your glory. Forgive us for being foolish and slow of heart to believe. Grant that Your Spirit would make our hearts burn within us at Your Word and make us to know You in the breaking of the bread. For we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


Saturday, November 20, 2021

2021.11.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:13–35

Read Luke 24:13–35

Questions from the Scripture text: How many of whom were traveling where (Luke 24:13)? What were they doing on the way (Luke 24:14)? Who drew near (Luke 24:15)? What did He do? What was done to them, with what result (Luke 24:16)? What did Jesus ask (Luke 24:17)? What did He note about them? Who answered (Luke 24:18)? What does he ask? With what question does Jesus respond (Luke 24:19)? What did they call Jesus? What did they say had been done to Him by whom (Luke 24:20)? But what had they hoped (Luke 24:21)? And why do they think this hope has disappointed? To whom does he refer in Luke 24:22? What does he say they had done? By saying what (Luke 24:23)? And had others done (Luke 24:24)? What does Jesus say about them for this (Luke 24:25)? What does He ask (Luke 24:26)? Where does He begin in Luke 24:27? And through how many of the Spirit-inspired books of the Old Testament does He take them? What does He specifically explain? To where do they draw near (Luke 24:28)? What does He indicate? But how do they respond in Luke 24:29? What are they doing in Luke 24:30? What does He do? What happens to their eyes (Luke 24:31)? What doe they know? And what happens to Him? What do they ask one another (Luke 24:32)? What do they do when (Luke 24:33)? Where do they go? Whom do they find? Whom else? What do the disciples in Jerusalem tell them (Luke 24:34)? And what do Cleopas and his friend tell them (Luke 24:35a)? What detail really stuck out to them (verse 35b)?

Sometimes the Scriptures catch our attention by a surprising response. These disciples seem distressed and disappointed. The initial discussion is pretty animated with the “conversing and reasoning” in Luke 24:15. Then their explanation is dejected in Luke 24:19-24 with the “But we were hoping” of Luke 24:21. To distressed and disappointed disciples, we might have expected some sympathy, but Jesus’s response is, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe!” (Luke 24:25). Surprising.

But often, when what we desire is sympathy, what we need is rebuke. While they were incredulous that Jesus didn’t seem to understand them, their real problem was that they had not understood His Word.

And if we haven’t seen that the Bible is about Christ—Christ crucified and Christ glorified—then we haven’t understood His Word either. That’s what the whole Bible is about: “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets […] all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). 

“If only I could see Jesus.”

Well, Jesus was there. But what they needed was to hear Jesus (His teaching from all the Scriptures) and for Jesus to make Himself known to them in the breaking of the bread. How often we feel like we want a particular experience of Christ, but what we really need is to attend upon His ordinary means! He is the One Whom makes Himself known to us, and He has chosen the means by which to do so. When we are distressed and disappointed, what we need is to believe all that Christ has spoken in His Word and by that Word, together with His sacrament, to know Him.

May His Spirit grant that our hearts would burn within us while He talks to us (Luke 24:32) and that we would know Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35).

Over what have you been distressed and disappointed? What do you need in the midst of that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You filled Your Word with truth about Yourself, Your crucifixion, and Your glory. Forgive us for being foolish and slow of heart to believe. Grant that Your Spirit would make our hearts burn within us at Your Word and make us to know You in the breaking of the bread. For we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”