Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

The LORD Is Faithful to His Promises, Threats, and Plan of Salvation [Family Worship lesson in 2Kings 15]

When there’s chaos in the church and in the world, what is the Lord doing? 2Kings 15 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that despite all the chaos that we see from sinners and their sin, the history of the world and the church marches steadily on, in fulfillment of the Word of God.
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2023.00.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 15

Read 2 Kings 15

Questions from the Scripture text: In what year, of whose reign, where, did who become king where (2 Kings 15:1)? How old was he (2 Kings 15:2)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother, from where? What did he do (2 Kings 15:3)? In Whose eyes? According to what? With what shortcoming (2 Kings 15:4)? What did Yahweh do in 2 Kings 15:5? With what result for the king? Who ruled during this time? How much more of his fifty-two (!) years of reigning is recorded here (2 Kings 15:6)? What happened when he died (2 Kings 15:7)? In what year, of whose reign, where, did who become king, where (2 Kings 15:8)? How long did he reign? What did he do (2 Kings 15:9)? In Whose sight? Like whom? Especially by not departing from what? How did the transition of power occur (2 Kings 15:10)? Before whom? What else of his reign is recorded here (2 Kings 15:11)? Why wasn’t Zechariah’s son able to take the throne like his predecessors who were assassinated (2 Kings 15:12)? In what year of whose reign did who become king (2 Kings 15:13)? How long did he reign, where? How did this transition of power take place (2 Kings 15:14)? What else is recorded here of Shallum (2 Kings 15:15)? What was the new king like; what did he do (2 Kings 15:16)? In what year, of whose reign, where, did who become king, where (2 Kings 15:17)? For how long, and in what city? What did he do (2 Kings 15:18)? In whose sight? By not departing from what? Who did what in 2 Kings 15:19? How did Menahem manage to keep the kingdom? Where did he get so much silver (2 Kings 15:20)? With what result? What else of his ten year reign is recorded here (2 Kings 15:21)? With whom did he lay down (2 Kings 15:22)? Who reigned in his place? In what year, of whose reign, where, did who becoming king over where (2 Kings 15:23)? In what city? For how long? What did he do (2 Kings 15:24)? In Whose sight? By not departing from what? Who conspires against Pekahiah in 2 Kings 15:25? Where does he kill him, with whom? What else is recorded here of Pekahiah (2 Kings 15:26)? In what year, of whose reign, where, did who become king over where (2 Kings 15:27)? In what city? How long did he reign? What did he do (2 Kings 15:28)? In Whose sight? By not departing from what? What happened in his days (2 Kings 15:29)? Then how did his reign end (2 Kings 15:30)? Who reigned in his place? In what year of whose reign? What else is recorded here of his reign (2 Kings 15:31)? In what year, of whose reign, over whom, did who become king of whom (2 Kings 15:32)? How old was he (2 Kings 15:33)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do (2 Kings 15:34)? According to what pattern? With what shortcoming (2 Kings 15:35)? But what did he accomplish? What else is recorded here of his sixteen years of reigning (2 Kings 15:36)? What happened during his reign (2 Kings 15:37)? What happened when he died (2 Kings 15:38)? Who reigned in his place?

When there’s chaos in the church and in the world, what is the Lord doing? 2 Kings 15 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that despite all the chaos that we see from sinners and their sin, the history of the world and the church marches steadily on, in fulfillment of the Word of God. 

The Lord is faithful to His Word of promise. Things have been bad in the northern kingdom the whole time, but things go to pot (or go to Pul, a.k.a. Tiglath Pileser the Assyrian) in this chapter. Azariah (a.k.a. Uzziah) is in his 38th year of reigning in Judah in 2 Kings 15:8, but has time to span five more kings in the north. They’re the last five kings, and at the end, the northern kingdom literally falls apart (2 Kings 15:29). It turns out that the one thing that had kept this from happening earlier was the Word of Yahweh to Jehu (2 Kings 15:12, cf. 2 Kings 10:30). Things often go badly in the world and in the church, but we would do well to remember that for the sake of fulfilling His Word—and in particular, His Word about Christ and His kingdom—the Lord is actually restraining the evil and the chaos. 

The Lord is faithful to His Word of curse. Jeroboam the son of Nebat had capitalized on Aaronic precedent and established a feast to Yahweh (1 Kings 12:32, cf. Exodus 32:5) at altars before bull images (1 Kings 12:28, cf. Exodus 32:4), devising the holy days from his own heart (1 Kings 12:33). And Israel never did do away with their manmade way of commemorating God’s great works of redemption (2 Kings 15:92 Kings 15:182 Kings 15:242 Kings 15:28). 

So now God is doing away with Israel. Hoshea is on the throne in 2 Kings 15:30, but he’s now a surrogate of Assyria, and that will come to a final end in chapter 17. But the Lord had threatened this in Deuteronomy 4:23–28. Moses warned them precisely against this manmade religion, and that Yahweh would scatter them to lands where there wasn’t even the pretense of worshiping Yahweh by the images, but just the worship of the wood and stone itself. And now, dreadfully, after marvelous patience and longsuffering on the Lord’s part, His Word of curse has proven true. 

The Word of God has promised the coming day of wrath for the world, and though He has been marvelously patient, it will eventually prove perfectly true (cf. 2 Peter 3). And the words of Jesus to many churches (whose lampstands have now been removed) warned that they were testing His patience (cf. Revelation 2–3). We mustn’t mistake patience for indifference. We must hate what he hates and repent of it, embracing instead the love of Him Who currently bears with us so patiently (cf. Romans 2:4–5). 

The Lord is bringing salvation. Uzziah doesn’t get nearly the press here that he does in 2 Chronicles 26. His greatest flaw is referred to backhandedly by the punishment for it (2 Kings 15:5, cf. 2 Chronicles 26:19–23). Things under him and Jotham aren’t perfect (2 Kings 15:42 Kings 15:35a). But, they are Davidic (2 Kings 15:32 Kings 15:72 Kings 15:342 Kings 15:38). There is a promise like that which had been made to Jehu (2 Kings 15:12), but the one to David is for a forever-King. The coming of Jesus is still in the background of this passage.

What manmade ways of marking God’s redemptive acts is the church having difficulty getting rid of? What might we expect the Lord to give the church over to, since He is the same today as in 2 Kings 15? Why is He still being patient? How should we be responding to that patience?

Sample prayer: Lord, we praise You for Your marvelous patience. You have saved Your people with great acts of redemption. And You have given us the way of commemorating these acts in Your worship. But like Aaron and Jeroboam the son of Nebat, we are prone to coming up with our own ways of commemorating Your redemptive acts. And like these five kings, and the many generations from Aaron down to them, Your churches keep persisting in their sin, as if You will never come and remove their lampstands. But here we stand before You today, beholding the riches of Your forbearance, and longsuffering, once again. Grant that by Your Spirit, these would lead us to repentance and faith in Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Theology Simply Explained, WSC73 — The Place of Property in God's Design for Our Lives

Pastor walks his children through Westminster Shorter Catechism question 73—especially explaining and applying the progression in the Ten Commandments that brings us now to consider the right way of viewing, obtaining, and employing property.

WSC73: Which is the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.
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Real Repentance Is Christ's Kingly Gift, by His Spirit, Using His Word [Family Worship lesson in Psalm 78:49–72]

How can we be encouraged by the greatness of God’s fury against His people’s sins? Psalm 78:49–72 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the greatness of God’s fury against His people’s sins becomes the backdrop for the greater-ness of His delight to display the glory of Christ and the glory of His salvation.
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2023.00.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 78:49–72

Read Psalm 78:49–72

Questions from the Scripture text: Which plague gets three full verses (Psalm 78:49-51)? What did God do for whom in Psalm 78:52-53a? Especially in which instance (Psalm 78:53b)? How does Psalm 78:54 describe the land to which God brought them? What three things does Psalm 78:55 say He did for them there? How did they treat God in return (Psalm 78:56)? Like whom (Psalm 78:57)? By what, specifically, did they provoke Him (Psalm 78:58)? And how did God respond to this (Psalm 78:59)? What had He previously done for them (Psalm 78:60)? And now what did He do with it (Psalm 78:61)? And what did He do with them (Psalm 78:62-64)? Especially mentioning even whom? How do Psalm 78:65-66 describe the restoration of His people? Upon whom and where did this restoration focus (Psalm 78:67-68)? How great is this restoration (Psalm 78:69)? Who is the type/forerunner/example of this restoration (Psalm 78:69-71)? What does this King do (Psalm 78:72)?

How can we be encouraged by the greatness of God’s fury against His people’s sins? Psalm 78:49–72 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the greatness of God’s fury against His people’s sins becomes the backdrop for the greater-ness of His delight to display the glory of Christ and the glory of His salvation. 

Ichabod; the glory has departed. Despite God’s pouring out His wrath upon Egypt unto death (Psalm 78:49-51), His people did not fear to test and provoke Him (Psalm 78:56a) by violating His Word (verse Psalm 78:56b). Despite God’s great patience (Psalm 78:10-55), gentleness (Psalm 78:52), deliverance (Psalm 78:53), and generosity (Psalm 78:54-55) with them, His people were not faithful but treacherous (Psalm 78:56-57). They even transgressed the commandment whose violators the Lord calls “those who hate me (Psalm 78:58, cf. Exodus 20:5). 

The events in Psalm 78:59-64 play out in 1 Samuel 4, even to the stunned silence (Psalm 78:64) of Phinehas’s wife in 1 Samuel 4:20, only able to blurt out a name for her new son that was attached not to the loss of her husband but the departure of the glory of the Lord. The language is shocking: “[God] was furious and greatly abhorred Israel” (Psalm 78:59). The action is shocking: “He forsook the tabernacle […] He delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand” (Psalm 78:60-61). We simply cannot comprehend how much the Lord hates man-made religion.

King of kings and Lord of lords. Psalm 78:65 introduces the deliverance, with which this Psalm ends, with some more shocking words: “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.” At first glance the rejection of Ephraim, and choosing of Judah and Zion, seems to be about the selection and coronation of David, especially with his mention in Psalm 78:70. But the crescendo is too grand, and its peak too high. This sanctuary is in the heights and established forever. And the shepherding in Psalm 78:72 begins to unravel even by the end of his own reign.

Yet, the Lord does take a humble King and raise Him up from His humility to exactly such a height. The Lord Jesus humbled Himself to take the form of a bondslave (Philippians 2:7), humbled Himself to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8), and has been raised to the height of King of kings and Lord of lords (Philippians 2:9-11), Who works in His people to will and to work according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). He is the Shepherd, Who guides His people in integrity and skill (Psalm 78:71-72).

So we see the great delight of the Lord in glorifying Christ by saving through Him—that for these ends, He has been willing to endure generations of treachery even from those for whom He has done the most!

How else has God displayed to you His hatred for sin? How else has He displayed to you His patience, gentleness, deliverance, and generosity? Why has He been willing to put up with so much? How does this encourage you, as you cling to Christ? What ought it do to you, if you don’t?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your holiness and justice. Truly Your wrath is a perfect response to the sins of men. And we praise You for Your great patience. How often You have been longsuffering with Your people’s sins. And we praise You for the greatness of Your deliverance—saving us from sin, and death, and Hell. And we praise You for Your great generosity—giving us Yourself to be our inheritance forever in a New Heaven and New Earth. We praise You that You have done all of this to display the glory of Christ, and the glory of Your salvation in Him. Grant that by Your Spirit, we would now delight in Christ’s glory, and His salvation’s glory, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP78H “Then He Struck Down” or TPH78 “O My People, Hear My Teaching”

Monday, February 06, 2023

How Does the Triune God Bless Us? [2023.02.05 Evening Sermon in 2Corinthians 13:14—Theology Conference Session 5]


The nature of benedictions. Churches often replace them or they omit them entirely. State why the Trinitarian blessing is vital and relevant as a closing chapter. The Triune God himself is the highest blessing of His people.

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The Trinity and Knowing God [2023.02.05 Morning Sermon in 1Corinthians 2—Theology Conference Session 4]


What is theology? Older authors defined it shorthand as the doctrine of living to God. Longhand, it is the doctrine of living to God, through Christ, by the Spirit. Yet do we not lose our moorings? All our talk about divine attributes, predestination, baptism, salvation, child-rearing, prayer, worship, and anything else is empty if our highest aim is not to know God. Theology is a true story about God and how we come to know Him and live with Him. 1 Cor. 2 teaches us how to know God by giving us the means, the matter, and the Mover needed to know God through Christ. We need to hold the appropriate work of each divine person in their proper places to preach in demonstration of the Spirit's power, and in order to know the Spirit's power as we hear preaching. The point Paul is making could not be more vital to the church today.

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Union with Our Federal Head [Family Worship lesson in Romans 5:12–14]

Does it seem wrong to you that we would be forgiven through another Man’s death, and blessed through another Man’s obedience? Romans 5:12–14 looks forward to the sermon in this week’s midweek meeting. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the reality of federal representation and union with our federal head is already obviously true in the fact that we are spiritually dead sinners who also physically die.
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2023.02.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 5:12–14

Read Romans 5:12–14

Questions from the Scripture text: How is Romans 5:12 related to the idea of union with Christ that has just been discussed in Romans 5:11? Through whom, did what, enter where? And what entered through sin? To whom did death spread? What had they all done? What was in the world before the giving of the law (Romans 5:13a)? But what cannot be imputed without a law (verse 13b)? When, and by what law, then, had all men sinned (cf. Romans 5:12a)? How do we know that sin was being imputed between Adam and Moses—what reigned during that time (Romans 5:14)? During that time, whose transgressions were some people’s sinning not quite like? What did Adam’s corporate/federal act make him to be? Of Whom was Adam this type/forerunner?

Does it seem wrong to you that we would be forgiven through another Man’s death, and blessed through another Man’s obedience? Romans 5:12–14 looks forward to the sermon in this week’s midweek meeting. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the reality of federal representation and union with our federal head is already obviously true in the fact that we are spiritually dead sinners who also physically die. 

The apostle has just referred to the centrality of union with Christ in our reconciliation with God. We did not receive reconciliation as an abstraction. It came through Christ’s blood and through Christ’s death, but even more than that it came in Christ Himself—even within Christ Himself. Believers were in Him in His obedience and death and resurrection. They are still in Him in His life (cf. Romans 5:10). And it is in Him that they are reconciled to God as blood-redeemed sinners, and lovingly adopted children.

Now the apostle shows that this federal representation and union is not something new. All men sinned in Adam (Romans 5:12-13), and all men died in Adam (Romans 5:12Romans 5:14), which occurred in part because humanity’s union with Adam in his death was an example of the same principle by which all for whom Christ died also died with Him and rose with Him (end of Romans 5:14).

All men sinned in Adam. “Through one man, sin entered the world” (Romans 5:12). Adam was our federal representative. Even though the word for “man” is not the male-specific word, Romans 5:14 calls him out by name. His wife sinned too, but it was in him and in his sin that we all sinned.

Already, in the garden, all men had sinned. They transgressed the law of a covenant in which death had been threatened, thousands of years before the Mosaic law. Their sins were not “according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam” (Romans 5:14). But they still received the covenant curse of that transgression: death. And this death was not only their returning to dust, but also spiritual death. They came into this world sinners against all the character of God, against that knowledge of God that is written upon all of our hearts (cf. Romans 2:12–16). 

All men died in Adam. The sin of Adam, and all of our sins, deserve something far worse than death: the wrath and curse of God. But it was death, specifically, that was the penalty for covenant transgression in the garden, and the fact that men died from Adam until Moses demonstrated that we had all sinned in Adam. In the day that he ate of the fruit, and we with him, we all died. When we come into this world “dead in trespasses” (cf. Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:5), it is because we died in Adam and with Adam on that day. 

This is one great reason that it will do men no good to complain that they don’t deserve to die in the future. They are already dead in the past, and this testifies to the dreadful fact that all who descend in the ordinary manner from Adam are “by nature children of wrath” (cf. Ephesians 2:3).

Adam is a type of Christ Who was to come. Adam is a type of Christ. Present tense. He continues to be an example to us. Men continue to come into this world as sinners and continue to die as a result of descending from Adam, in whom we sinned. 

It cannot be doubted that men sin and die. From the apostle’s discussion in this chapter, it is evident that people in his own day resisted the idea of Jesus being our federal Representative, and our being united to Him in His own obedience, death, and resurrection. Many resist that idea in our own day, from a perverted sense of justice in which we sit in arrogant and foolish judgment over the truth and reality of how God saves sinners in Jesus Christ.

We are saved through representation by our federal Head, and union with Him, in all of His obedience, in His atoning death, in His resurrection life. And it will not do for us to resist the idea of federal headship or union with a federal head. For, the fact of our sinfulness and death attests that we have all already been represented in a previous federal head. To quote the catechism’s summary of the Spirit’s teaching in this passage: the covenant being made with Adam not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

How do you know that you were in Adam when he sinned in the garden? What else happened to you on that day? If you believe in Jesus, what does that mean happened to you on the day that He was crucified? What happened to you on the day that He rose again from the dead?

Sample prayer:  Father, thank You for giving Your Son to be the last Adam, so that in Him we might be brought from a state of sin and misery into a state of righteousness and blessedness. Grant that Your Spirit would continue to apply to us the death and resurrection of Christ, so that we might die unto sin and walk in newness of life, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”