Thursday, August 30, 2018

2018.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:13-22

Questions for Littles: What was at hand (v13)? Where did Jesus go? What did He find in the temple (v14)? What did Jesus make (v15)? What did He do with that whip? What did He say to those who sold doves (v16)? What did the disciples remember from Psalm 69 (v17)? What did the Jews demand from Him in v18? What sign does Jesus say that He will give (v19)? Why do the Jews think this is crazy—how long had it taken to build the temple (v20)? But of what temple was Jesus speaking (v21)? When Jesus had risen from the dead, and the disciples remembered what He said here, what two things did they come to believe (v22)? 
In the Gospel reading this week, we were reminded that Jesus’s resurrection means that have to obey every word that He says.

Jesus was certainly acting like a prophet. The response of the Jews in v18 is quite interesting. They don’t seem to dispute at all whether Jesus was right about what He said. Rather, they want to know what’s special about Him—what gives Him the right to say it? If He’s really a prophet, they insist that He perform signs like the prophets did.

It’s at this point that Jesus begins referring to His resurrection. No one understood Him at the time. Later, His disciples would come to understand that He meant His body. Paul tells us in Romans 1, that it was by His resurrection that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power!

Indeed, once He had risen from the dead, the disciples believed that the promised Savior and salvation of Psalm 69 had come. He had demonstrated Himself to be the long-hoped-for Forever-King.

That has implications for your life, doesn’t it? Jesus rising from the dead gives Him the right to confront us from His Word at all times and all places.

Often, when His Word exposes some wickedness in our lives, as He had done at the temple, we respond like they did: what gives You the right to say that? His resurrection is the great sing of His right to say it!

Jesus is the long-awaited Christ. The forever-King from the line of David. The prophet greater than Moses. And our lives must be a continual obedience and service unto Him!
What should we remember, whenever we are tempted to resist Christ’s Word?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Your Ear” or TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”

2018.08.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:10-16

Questions for Littles: To whom is Paul talking in v10? Whom does he claim to be quoting? What does he say that a wife must not do? What are her only options if she makes a separation like this (v11)? What may a husband not do? Whom does Paul now say he is not quoting in v12? What does he say a Christian husband should do, if his unbelieving wife is willing to live with him (v13)? What does he say a Christian wife should do, if her unbelieving husband is willing to live with her (v13)? What people are made holy (sanctified) by a believing wife, even if they themselves are unbelieving (v14)? Whom should they permit to depart (v15)? To what has God called us? What possibility, in God’s providence and mercy, is an encouragement to stay together (v16)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we received more instruction about Christian marriage.

It is important to note that this is all equally Scripturally authoritative. Paul says in v40 that he is giving this counsel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The difference between quoting Jesus and not quoting Jesus is that, when he is quoting Christ, he is basically telling them things that they should already have known.

Here, the apostle addresses the married—in part, because of that very bad advice which some of them had written, that it is not good for a man to touch a woman. But marriage is a good gift from God for many purposes.

One of these purposes of healthy, faithful marriages is for the producing of godly descendants (cf. Malachi 2:13-16). Now, 1Corinthians 7:14 teaches us that God counts the children as holy if even one of the parents is a believer (who, of course then, should receive the covenant sign and seal) —and that He even treats the unbelieving spouse according to the covenant. In fact, v16 (cf. 1Pet 3:1) even implies the Lord’s inclination to bring such a spouse to faith in Christ!

All of this is why, if a spouse is willing to live with a believer despite their faith, that believer is to stay in the marriage. Yet, if the unbeliever is not willing, the believer is neither to be pushy toward the spouse nor anxious in himself/herself. We are called to peace. What a blessed truth: we are called to peace.
How are you preparing for or protecting your own marriage? Others’ marriages?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018.08.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:15-30

Questions for Littles: Who asked Jacob what his wages should be (v15)? What did Laban have (v16)? What were their names? What did Jacob notice about Leah’s appearance (v17)? What did he notice about Rachel’s? What did Jacob say, in v18, that he would like to receive for his wages? How long did he offer to work for her? What did Laban say about giving her to Jacob in v19? How long did Jacob serve for Rachel (v20)? How long did it seem to him? Why? For whom did Jacob ask in v21? What did Laban make in v22? Whom did he bring to Jacob in v23? What does Jacob discover in v25? What does he ask? What does Laban give as a reason in v26? Who proposes that Jacob would have a second wife in v27? What does he call Rachel? How much of a honeymoon does Leah get before her husband takes another wife (v28)? What did Laban give to each of his daughters (v24, 29)? Whom did Jacob love more (v30)? How many more years did Jacob now serve? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we continue learning about Jesus’s family.

It’s rather an ugly story. If it were a film, we mightn’t allow our children to watch it.

  • A daughter is basically being sold as wages. 
  • The covenant patriarch is sizing the two daughters up by their appearance. 
  • The father of the girls intentionally gives the wrong daughter on the wedding night. 
  • As far as we can tell, there’s no covenanting ceremony before the man and woman sleep together. 
  • The unwanted daughter goes along with her father’s plan. 
  • The excuse given is something that the man literally had seven years to tell him, but somehow had never mentioned it? 
  • Rather than receive his wife as God’s providence, or perhaps ok though not as good, ask for an annulment because of the deception, Jacob goes along with the plan for him two have two wives. 
  • Going against God’s design for one man and one woman for marriage immediately causes them to suffer the consequences, as one of the wives is loved less (v30, in fact, should probably read “instead of Leah” rather than “more than”).

What are we to make of all of this? Well, at least two things. The first is that the only true hero of the history of redemption is Jesus Christ. The second is how badly Christ was needed. At every step, these people felt like they had good reason for what they were doing. But this whole account is dripping with sin and folly. Come, Lord Jesus, and save Your people!
Why shouldn’t you want others to see you as a spiritual hero? Who should be?
Suggested songs: ARP45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018.08.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 149

Questions for Littles: Whom shall we praise (v1)? What shall we sing? Where? In whom is Israel to rejoice (v2)? In whom must the children of Zion be joyful? What aspects of the worship led by Levitical priests are named in v3? In whom does the Lord take pleasure (v4)? With what does He beautify the humble (v4)? In what should saints be joyful (v5)? What should they do on their beds? What should be in their mouths (v6)? And what should be in their hands? For what purpose (v7-9a)? Which of the Lord’s saints have this honor?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Psalm 149. This is a Psalm about corporate worship—the praise of the Lord in the assembly of the saints. Yes, it’s a praise that continues to resound in their hearts and mouths even when they are at home on their beds (v5). But it is something that distinctly belongs to the assembly (v1), as evidenced by the reference to the specific Levite-led activities of v3.

We, of course, are no longer led by Levites in a temple on earth, but we ourselves are the temple, and we are led by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

Therefore, the joy of the song is not diminished, but rather increased—as the saints are joyful in glory. In particular, we now know how it is that Yahweh Himself takes pleasure in us (v4!!). It is because we come to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.

But not only do we have the privilege of a great reception on High, week by week in this life. We also have the privilege of a great power on earth.

Which of the Lord’s saints wield this great sword to which v6-9 refer? All His saints. v9 says, “This honor have all His saints”!!

Now, we know that not all His saints carry physical swords by which they subjugate rulers. But, just as our worship must come from God and not be merely the worship of men, so also our weapons are the weapons of God.

As we believe the Scripture together, and confess it in worship, and admonish one another with it, and teach it to our children, we are participating in the subjugation of all the nations, which shall surely be accomplished by God’s mighty Word. Hallelujah!
In what part of worship are you participating in the overthrow of kings?
Suggested songs: ARP149B “O Praise the Lord, O Sing Aloud” or TPH166 “You Who His Temple Throng”

Monday, August 27, 2018

2018.08.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 7:13-23

Questions for Littles: By what gate should we enter (v13)? Where do the wide gate and broad way lead? How many go in by it? Where do the narrow gate and difficult way lead (v14)? How many find it? Of whom must we beware (v15)? What do they look like? Wat are they inwardly? How can we know them (v16-20)? What, specifically, are not the fruits to look for (v22)? What are the fruits to look for (v21, 23)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we received a very serious warning. This was not just a pep-talk to say, “Go team! Let’s live a life of service!” No, this was a Messianic rescue mission.
What is before us in this passage is destruction and life, hell and heaven.

Why is it that we love to be popular? God help us! The wide gate and broad way lead to destruction. It is not that we should desire to be unpopular, either. But surely, if we find that many are signing up to go along with us, this passage should be cause for alarm.

Now, it’s not difficult to check whether we have entered by the correct gate: for that gate is nothing other than Christ alone. No work of ours. No doctrine of ours. Nothing in our hands we bring. Simply to Him we cling. Any other gate—any attempt to add to this gate—is an entrance to the way to Hell. That’s intolerant. Truth often is.

Yet, woe is us that we wish to be comfortable! We hate pain and love pleasure; we want to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. There is hardly a worse sounding thing to our ears than “that isn’t fun.” Here again, are words that should terrify us. The spacious, agreeable, pleasant way leads to destruction. If we have made it our aim to have comfort and fun—and, even worse, if we have succeeded—then we can be almost certain that we haven’t entered by the narrow gate.

Those who enter by the knowledge of Christ slaughter their self-will and live by the law of Christ. We may say “Lord, Lord” and “in Your name” until we are blue in the face, but unless we have learned to die to self and live to Christ, we can expect to hear “I never knew You” on the last day.
In what part of your life are you most in danger of choosing comfort over Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP119B “How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH266 “Thou Art the Way”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

2018.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 15:10-20

Questions for Littles: Who called the people to Himself in v10? What did He want them to do? What does not defile a man (v11)? What does defile a man? Who warned Jesus that the Pharisees were offended (v12)? What does Jesus say is the reason for the uprooting of some plants (people, v13)? What does Jesus tell the disciples to do with them in v14? What does He say will happen to those whom the Pharisees lead? Who asks Jesus for an explanation (v15)? What does Jesus say happens to our food, eventually (v17)? But where do our words come from (v18)? How long does that last? Apart from Christ, what kinds of things come out of our hearts (v19)? When that is what is coming out of our hearts, what does it do to us (v18,20)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we see one more of the changes that Jesus was making from the manmade religion of the Pharisees. Earlier in the chapter, we had seen that true religion is only that which has been invented by the Lord’s Word. Now, we see that true religion can only occur by the Lord’s power.

When Jesus rejects the tradition of the Pharisees outright in v11, they are offended. That’s not surprising. Have you ever told someone that something religiously important to them was invalid because it’s not part of the true religion in Scripture? Or maybe you’ve been told yourself.

It takes special humility to accept this, and to repent of and ruthlessly expunge everything from our religion that comes from ourselves. In fact, the required humility is so very special that Jesus says that it cannot come from man but only by the will and power of God (v13).

Lord, take away my blindness, because I cannot take it away from myself! Lord, give me faith, because I cannot give it to myself!

And that is actually the point of Jesus’s explanation in vv17-20. We can’t just wash our outsides in order to be clean before God. Why not? Because we’re rotten to the core of our hearts. The actual sins that proceed from us are literally just the tips of the spiritual icebergs in our hearts.

The only we can ever be clean before God is by receiving a spiritual heart transplant! Anything other than this Reformed doctrine of conversion is false religion, and the pit into which it causes people to stumble is horrifically deeper than the grave!
From where has your sin come? What can be done about it? Who can do this?
Suggested Songs: ARP51A-B “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Friday, August 24, 2018

2018.08.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:1-12

Questions for Littles: Where do Jesus and His disciples go (v1-2)? What happens at the wedding (v3)? Whom does Mary tell about it? Why does Jesus say that this has nothing to do with Him (v4)? But what does His mother say, anyway, and to whom (v5)? How many waterpots were there (v6)? How much did each hold? How full did they fill them (v7)? What did the master of the feast think of the wine (v10)? What did he imply the guests had already done before this good wine came out? What did John call this miracle (v11)? What did it show/manifest? How did the disciples respond? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus does the first of the signs through which the apostle earlier told us that they beheld His glory.

Of course, the more impressive part of the sign is actually the less important. The evangelist had told us that Jesus glory was “as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Now, making 150 gallons of good wine after everyone has already drunk freely might have been amazing and even generous. It certainly saved the young couple and their family from embarrassment. But, the Holy Spirit constructs His account in such a way as to point us to something else about the Lord Jesus’s character here: submissiveness to His mother.

There are two possibilities: either it is time for Jesus to separate Himself and begin His public ministry, or He is still a part of Mary’s household and in submission to her. It is doubtful that Christ performed other miracles before this. Theologically, His miracles were signs. And yet Mary, having treasured up in her heart so much about Jesus, and knowing His perfection in honoring her, is quite certain that He is both willing and able to do something.

Christ’s first miracle, then, is instigated not by some theological discerning of the time, but by our Lord’s perfect obedience to the fifth commandment. This is the main point of vv4-5 and v11-12. Once this first sign has been performed, the ministry now begins in earnest.

What a significant place, in the history of redemption, God has given to the honoring of our parents! Even on the cross, as Jesus appoints this very evangelist to care for Mary, He is still presenting prominently the goodness of the duty to honor our parents!

So, also, the Lord honors marriage in general and weddings in specific by making one to be the occasion of His first public miracle. Ultimately, however, this is not a passage about honoring parents and honoring marriage as much as it is a passage about believing in Christ. What did the first disciples do, when they saw Jesus perform this sign?

They believe in Him—and so must we!
Why is Christ’s perfect honoring of His parents and honoring of marriage important? How do you continue to honor your parents? How do you honor marriage?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH128B “Blest the Man That Fears Jehovah”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018.08.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:1-9

Questions for Littles: Who had written that it was good for a man not to touch a woman (v1)? What happens when each man doesn’t have his own wife, or each woman doesn’t have her own husband (v2)? What do husbands and wives need to show one another (v3)? Who has authority over a wife’s body (v4)? Who has authority over a husband’s body? What does v5 command them not to do? For what purpose can they take a break? For how long? Why must they come back together quickly? To what (end of v5) was Paul offering a concession (v6)? Like whom did he wish they were instead (v7)? Now to whom is he talking in v8? Like whom does he say it is good for the to remain? But what should they do if they cannot exercise self-control (v9)? Because of what does he give this particular instruction (cf. v26)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learned that at least some of the Corinthians had come up with their own solution to the problem of sexual immorality: perpetual celibacy. It’s not a new plan. Roman Catholics—and other cults—have long taught the idea that there is a level of super-Christian who decide never to get married at all.

Now, the Corinthians were in a temporary situation of distress (v26) that it made it best to stay single if possible without sin (v8-9). But, not everyone is given the gift of unusual self-control (v7). So, even in the Corinthian situation, marriage was the best option for most.

Man’s ideas are no substitute for the Word of God or the Spirit of God. When God calls something good, like marriage, we cannot compensate for our sinfulness by calling that thing bad and just trying to stay away from it.

Obviously, from this passage, singleness is not a cursed state. However, it is plain from this and many other passages that marriage is a blessed state.

And it is crystal clear from this passage that husbands and wives are to be affectionate to one another. This is God’s good design for marriage, and to depart from it is not only to deprive ourselves of God’s good gift, but to leave ourselves defenseless before our own sin and folly.

Let us learn what folly comes from adding rules to God’s rules, as if that could actually do something about our sin.
What are you doing to support and guard your and others’ marriages?
Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

2018.08.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:1-14

Questions for Littles: To what land does Jacob come (v1)? What does he find there (v2)? What were lying by it? What was on the well’s mouth? At what point would they roll the stone away (v3, 8)? Who was coming (v6, 9)? What did Jacob do by himself in v10? What did Jacob tell Rachel in v12? Where did she go? Whom did she tell? Where did Laban go in v13? Who told Laban the same things that Rachel had just told him (v13)? What did Laban say in v14? Where else have we heard this particular phrasing (cf. 2:23)? How long did Jacob stay with him at this point? What had Jacob’s mission been (cf. 28:1-2)? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have what is getting to be a familiar romantic theme. Boy meets foreign girl at well. Boy goes home to girl’s family. Boy marries girl and takes her to a different country.

There are two stories that depend upon the outcome. The smaller one is the story of Jacob getting a wife. Of course, he really didn’t need one so long as he was Rebekah’s mama’s boy. But then came the whole Esau mortal-revenge problem, and finding an appropriate wife became a handy excuse.

Now, Jacob the deceiver, son of Rebekah the schemer, is getting himself entangled with an entire family of people of similar character. That doesn’t bode very well. We do, incidentally, find out something moderately impressive about him: when push comes to shove, he’s able to lift a stone with the strength of many men in order to get a private audience with a gal.

The bigger story, of course, is the one of how the Lord is defeating the serpent by bringing a Son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob into the world. As we are becoming familiar with noticing, His method in the history of redemption is to use messed up sinners to bring the Redeemer into the world.

Laban, for selfish reasons, announces that Jacob is his bone and his flesh. That sacred statement with which we were introduced to the holy, creation ordinance of marriage, is twisted into an instrument by which Laban hopes to profit as much as possible from his connection to Jacob.

But there is another sharing of bone and flesh that will come through this. The Word will become flesh and dwell among us. God the Son will take to Himself a bride, and just as He has taken on her flesh and bone in the incarnation, so also He will give her new, eternal life, of both soul and body. Little could Laban have known what glorious grace toward which his words were pointing!

In your daily life, dear Christian, the Lord is not bringing Himself into this world to accomplish salvation, but He is indeed working that salvation out. As He applies His redemption, one day at a time, He is working through lives like Jacob’s and like ours—messed up sinners as we are—so that all would be to the praise only of His glorious grace!
With what greater story is this week’s story of your own life intertwined?
Suggested songs: ARP23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2018.08.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 58

Questions for Littles: Questions for Littles: What does v1 say Isaiah is to be telling God’s people and the house of Jacob? Whom does v2 say that they seek daily? What does v2 say that they delight to know? What does v2 say that they ask of God? Whom does v2 say that they take delight in approaching? What questions do the people ask in v3? What does v4 say are the reasons that they were fasting? What were they trying to make happen? What does v5 say that they did to their souls when they fasted? What did they do to their heads? What does v6 say that God wants their fasts to be like? What does v7 say they should do as a result of their fasts? To whom should they bring their bread? Whom should they bring into their house? What should they do for the naked? If their fasts are like this, what does v8 say will break forth like the morning? What will spring forth speedily? What will go before them? What will be their rear guard? Upon whom does v9 say they will call? What will He do? To whom will they cry? What will the Lord say when they cry? What does v9 say are three things that people who trust in and worship God will take away? To whom does v10 say they will extend their souls? Whom will they satisfy? What does v10 say will then come into the darkness? And what will their darkness be like? Whom does v11 say will guide them continually? Who will satisfy their souls as in drought? Who will strengthen their bones? What does v11 say they will be like? What does v12 say they will rebuild? What will they raise up? What will they be called? From what were they to turn their feet on the Sabbath (v13)? Whose day is it? What were they to call a delight? What were they to call honorable? Whom do we honor when we delight in the Sabbath? Whose ways are they not to do on the Sabbath? Whose pleasure are they not to find on the Sabbath? Whose words are they not to speak on the Sabbath? What (whom!) does v14 say that this kind of Sabbath-keeping will make them delight in? Upon what will this Sabbath keeping make us to ride? Upon whose heritage will this kind of Sabbath-keeping make us to feed?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Isaiah 58. This chapter compares false religion with true. False religion that thinks God owes us for making ourselves miserable by obeying Him. Such religion treats worship and obedience as miseries that we endure so that God will be satisfied with what we do. Doesn’t it frighten you, dear Christian, that these people sought God daily, and delighted to know His ways, and asked from Him ordinances of justice, and took delight to approach Him (v2)… and yet the introduction to this entire chapter was a trumpet-blast announcement of their sin (v1)?

If such eagerness for worship, and zeal for learning, and commitment to obedience can be condemned by God as wicked, how can we tell by the fruit of our lives if we genuinely belong to God or not? Thankfully, our passage highlights a fruit that comes from false religion: driving others hard, accusing others, speaking wickedly (v9b). It turns out that if we consider God hard and demanding and uncaring with us (v5), requiring us to manipulate Him by what we do (v4), we will be hard and demanding and uncaring with others.

But the Lord has given us His worship and law generously, giving us that which is for good and for joy—to free us precisely from that sinful mindset that belongs to our natures (v6), and to turn around and be as merciful with others as God has been with us (v7).

What’s the great difference between the two kinds of religion? One says, “look what great things I have done for God!” (v3). The other says, “look what great things God has done for me!” (v9a). Those who trust in the Lord and rejoice in His mercy and grace become those who are merciful and gracious with others (v7, v10). Their lives become abundant not by the impressiveness of their effort, but by the continual work of God’s grace in them (v8, 11). And God uses them to bring life and healing and strength to others (v12).  Isn’t that what you would like, dear Christian? Which religion is yours?

Now, what if we have discovered that our hearts are too much like the false religion and too little like the true religion? None of us appreciate God’s goodness and generosity as much as we ought to. None of us are merciful and gracious to others as we ought to be.

Enter one of God’s good and generous gifts: His Sabbath. There’s a wonderful “If-then” in v13-14. It goes exactly opposite what many of us would expect. Apart from grace, we naturally approach Sabbath-keeping like Pharisees, thinking that good Sabbath keeping will show how much we delight in the Lord… we think that “If you delight yourself in the Lord, then you will turn your foot and call the Sabbath a delight.”

However, our passage says exactly the opposite: “If you turn your foot and call the Sabbath a delight, then you will delight yourself in the Lord.” In other words, every Sabbath is a heart-training day, a delight-training day. God has built into every single week a day that cures us just a little bit of the false religion, and grows us just a little bit in the true religion.

What are we to do on His holy day? Treat it as holy! In other words, treat it as His, not ours. There are particular places that He has for us to go (worship!), so we focus on going there instead of wherever else we would have wanted. There are particular pleasures (Him Himself in focused, direct fellowship) that He has for us to enjoy—pleasures that should obsolete and dwarf whatever else we would seek after. Even the type of conversations that we have are determined by the fact that it is His holy day.

We’re so convinced that our natural desires and pleasures are the best, that we don’t always feel like the Sabbath is a gift, but in moments when we don’t feel it, we need to trust what Scripture says. That’s a big part of the Christian life, isn’t it? Doing what God says is best, even when it feels to us like it’s not? There’s already a joy in entrusting ourselves to His wisdom, and the love in which He has given His good commands. It is sweet to submit to the Savior, to yield ourselves to Him who loves our soul.

But it is more than that. There is a promise here, and thousands of years of believers have experienced God’s faithfulness to that promise. The Lord teaches us that there is a mechanism here, and thousands of years of believers have experienced the truth of that teaching.

Oh, how delightful is the Lord, our life! Indeed, He makes us to ride on the heights. What is the heritage of Jacob our father? The Lord Himself is our inheritance! And every good and perfect gift that He provides in that relationship.
How does weekly Lord’s Day keeping turn you away from man-made religion to God-made religion?
Suggested songs: ARP92 “It’s Good to Thank the Lord” or TPH151 “Lord of the Sabbath, Hear Us Pray”

Monday, August 20, 2018

2018.08.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 7:13-23, 16:18-28

Questions for Littles: What do the scribes and Pharisees ask about in vv1-2? What question does Jesus ask back in v3? What had God commanded, according to v4a? What had God threatened, according to v4b? But what did the scribes and Pharisees say to people (v5)? What did their saying end up doing to God’s commandment (v6)? What does Jesus call them in v7? Who had prophesied about them? With what did Isaiah say they draw near (v8)? But where was their heart? What did Isaiah say about their worship (v9)? Why was their worship empty and pointless—who/what was coming up with their way of worshiping God? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned two of the most important reasons for being Reformed: to be free from the commandments of men, and to serve the Lord sincerely and truly.

The scribes were the Bible scholars of the church, and the Pharisees were the local religious leaders of the church. As far as their understanding of what the Scriptures taught, Jesus said that they actually understood the Bible rightly (cf. Mt 23:1-3), but where they fell into serious error was in coming up with their own things to add to Scripture (Mt 23:4), which resulted in focusing on the outside instead of the heart (Mt 23:5-7). The only solution is to cut all man-made teaching and authority out of the church (Mt 23:8-12).

That’s exactly the issue in our passage in Matthew 15. It’s not like their ideas sound bad on the face of things: make sure to wash your hands before you eat, and devote a certain portion of your wealth to the service of God that you refuse to use for anything else.

But the folly of adding their own ideas alongside God’s Word can be seen in the results. When our ideas are treated in the same way as God’s Word, our ideas are being given too much weight. So it’s not surprising that when push comes to shove, God’s Word then ends up being given too little weight.

Focusing too much upon hands that are soiled with dirt ends up in their neglecting the more important problem of hearts that are soiled with sin. Focusing too much upon guarding funds for serving the church ends up in their neglecting the more important duty of taking care of their parents.

There is something even worse than messing up our theology or messing up our obedience: messing up our relationship with God.

When we go away from God’s law to our own definition of what love is, God says about us, “Your heart is far from Me.” My heart far from God?! What could be worth falling into such a condition?!

When, in addition to what God has commanded for worship, we add what feels worshipful to us, God says about us, “in vain they worship Me.” If God says our worship is worthless, how can it even matter if we or anyone else likes it?

Ultimately, this is the entire point of being Reformed: Scripture alone defines our doctrine; Scripture alone defines love and obedience to God; Scripture alone defines how to worship God. Why? Because we want to draw near to Him with the whole heart, and we want to render unto Him worship that He values.

Adding any ideas of men, however well-meaning or good-looking to us, just isn’t worth the cost!
What negative criticism have you heard of being “Reformed”? How would you answer that now?
Suggested Songs: ARP119B “How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH119B “How Shall the Young…?”

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018.08.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 13:5-7

Questions for Littles: For what two reasons must we be subject (v5)? What do we also do because of this (v6)? Why do we pay taxes (6b)? What are four different kinds of things that we might owe to an authority (v7)? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we heard about two reasons that we are to obey the governing authorities: wrath and conscience.

The “wrath” reason is more immediate. We usually think of it in terms of “the wrath to come,” but in v5 it is connected to the ability to wield the sword from v4. There are things that the government commands that it really has no right to command—things that don’t help us love God or neighbor, and may actually be hindrances to loving God or neighbor.

Yet, the government still has that sword—that ability to punish—as God has ordained for it to have. There is a wisdom calculation that we must make: is it worth it to disobey on this point, in order to be able to love God and neighbor more conveniently?

But then there is the other reason: conscience. We covered that in Monday’s devotional on vv1-4, but it bears repeating that every lawful command must be obeyed, because government is instituted by God.

That brings us to the subject of taxes. The government at the time that Paul wrote this letter had done things like crucify Christians, cover them in tar, and light them on fire as torches. But, as long as it was also actually punishing evildoers, taxes were due to it as a matter of conscience.

However, there was another reason to pay. Tax collectors and soldiers were in cahoots with one another to get more money out of people than they were supposed to collect. There’s a choice there: is it worth it to suffer the wrath of the soldiers to stiff the tax collector on the overcharge?

At the end of the day, every authority over us is due one kind of thing or another—even if that thing is just respect or honor. And we must give them what is due for both reasons: punishment from men and conscience before God!
What do you owe to the various authorities in your life? Do you pay it?
Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments”

Friday, August 17, 2018

2018.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 1:35-51

Questions for Littles: What does John tell two of his disciples about Jesus (v35-36)? And what do they do (v37-39)? Who was one of these two (v40)? Whom did he bring to Jesus (v41-42)? What did Jesus predict about him? Whom did Jesus call in v43? Whom did he tell in v45? What did he say about Jesus? But what did Nathanael answer (v46)? What does Jesus say about him in v47? But what makes Nathanael change his mind about Jesus in v48-49? What does Jesus tell him he will see in v51? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus’s identity is the main focus.

John tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God (v36), the unspotted sacrifice that God provides for the forgiveness of sins.

Andrew tells us that Jesus is the Messiah (v41), which is to say that He is the anointed one. By this time, this was primarily a reference to His kingship, though we know from the rest of Scripture that it is also a reference to His offices as Prophet and Priest.

Philip tells us that Jesus is the focus of the whole Bible. He is the one that Moses wrote about in the law, and the one about whom all the prophets wrote.

Nathanael tells us that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel. That seems like quite a leap, except that he is taking Jesus’s knowledge of him as confirmation of what Philip had said.

Jesus Himself tells us that He is the new Israel. He is great Jacob’s greater son. It is valid to read Genesis 28:12 in the Hebrew as saying that the angels were ascending and descending upon him (Jacob). Not only does the grammar fit it better (the gender would have been incorrect for the word “it/him” to refer to the “ladder”), but John makes that parallel here.

Jesus has replaced Jacob. When heaven opens, what Nathanael—and every other believer—sees is that in order to be in covenant relationship with God, we must belong to Jesus Christ. This is a great shift from God’s covenant with Israel, but just like John the Baptist, all predecessors must give way to Christ. The question for you, then, is: do you belong to Christ?
How is Jesus your Sacrifice? King? Priest? Prophet? God? Salvation?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken” or TPH492 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

2018.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 6:12-20

Questions for Littles: What were some Corinthians saying they were allowed to do (v12)? What were they saying the stomach is made for (v13)? But whom does Paul warn them will destroy it? For whom does the body exist? And what will God do with us that He has already done with the Lord Jesus (v14)? Of what are our bodies members (v15)? Of what must we not make them members (v15-16)? In what way are we one with the Lord Jesus (v17)? How should we respond to sexual immorality (v18)? Against what do we sin in sexual immorality? But what is this our body (v19)? How did God claim His right to us (v20)? What should we do with both our body and our spirit?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we find a couple sayings that sound wise, and were going around the Corinthian church. “All things are lawful for me,” they said. I’ve heard a version of this, where those who profess faith in Christ say, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” By that, they mean, “I can do whatever I want, since I’ve got forgiveness in Jesus.”

But that’s not how someone who actually has forgiveness thinks. Rather, the one whose heart has been opened to the Lord and forgiven by the Lord wants to live in the way that glorifies the Lord and keeps him free from sin.

Another thing that they were saying was, “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods.” They were justifying their gluttony by saying, “this is the way God made us—that’s what stomachs are for!”

But the apostle reminds us that we are not in fact the way that God made us. Sin and death have entered the world, and the fact that our bodies will soon lie in the grave is a reminder that our impulses are full of sin now.

But the Corinthians were even using such excuses to tell themselves that it was ok to visit prostitutes. They were taking the temple of the Holy Spirit, the blood-bought possession of the Lord Jesus Christ—themselves—and joining it to a prostitute!

It is a sad fact that, as Christians, we think so much about how we can best enjoy ourselves rather than how we can best glorify God. But living for ourselves is theft. Our whole selves—body and soul—have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. We must live in the way that glorifies Him!
What must you stop doing that you have been doing? What must you do instead? 
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or HB276 “There Is a Fountain”

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018.08.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 28:10-22

Questions for Littles: What did Jacob dream (v10-12)? What were ascending and descending upon him? Who stood above him in v13? What did He promise to give to Jacob? What did He promise about his descendants in v14? And who would be blessed through them? What else does the Lord promise in v15? How does Jacob feel, when he wakes up (v17)? What does he think that place is? What does he do in v18, and what does he call the place in v19? What does Jacob vow in v21? And what does he promise in v22?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, Jacob is running for his life from Esau. The map tells us that he has gone about 60 miles by the time he stops. That would be a 15 hour day of 15 minute miles!

No wonder he is so tired that he can sleep with a rock for a pillow! But, he is about to get even more scared. He has a vision of angels ascending and descending upon him by means of some kind of ladder, and even of a manifestation of the Lord right at his head.

The rest of the interaction is rather odd. The Lord makes glorious covenant promises of the land (v13), the people (14a), salvation (14b), and even His personal presence (v15). But, when Jacob wakes up, he seems not to be taking God at His Word. He makes his vow in a “if” “then” sort of format.

As we read it, we want to believe that he’s implying that God will surely keep the promises, but what we observe of Jacob in the coming chapters doesn’t really encourage us to think that he’s approaching this from a position of faith. In fact, it seems like he is bargaining with God.

We must never do that. God doesn’t need anything from us at all. Rather, He generously invites us into relationship with Him. It is a blessing to us to have God as our God. It is a blessing to us to be able to give Him a tithe of everything. We don’t do these things as some sort of quid-pro-quo response to if God keeps up “His end of the bargain.”

Jacob definitely is not the hero here. The Lord is. He makes this glorious promises that belong to all Israel. But He especially makes them to those who belong to the true Israel—our Lord Jesus Christ!
What are the Lord’s promises to you in Jesus? How are you privileged to respond?
Suggested songs: ARP89C “Behold, How Blessed the People Are” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

2018.08.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 4:5-31

Questions for Littles: Who were gathered together to put Peter and John on trial (v5-6)? What did they ask (v7)? By what name does Peter tell them they had done a good deed to a helpless man (v8-10)? What else does Peter say about Jesus in v10? What does he quote in v11? What does he say about Jesus’ name in v12? What did the accusers and court realize about them in v13? Still, what did they decide to do in v14-17? What command did they give in v18? How did Peter and John answer in 19? What did they feel that they had to do (v20)? What did they do to them in v21? What couldn’t they do to them, and why (v21-22)? What do the apostles acknowledge about God in v24? Whom do they recognize Psalm 2 as being about (v25-27)? What did the nations and Israel do, according to v28? For what do the apostles ask in v29? What did they immediately go out and do at the end of v31?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Acts 4. In this particular passage, the apostles are on trial, and the Lord actually uses those who are trying to punish them to give them a great opportunity. Their captors actually ask them by what power or name they had healed the man!!

Of course, that’s a great big softball, and the Holy Spirit fills Peter and enables him to knock it right out of the park. He doesn’t just tell them that it was Jesus—but the crucified and risen Jesus in whose name alone there can be any salvation!

The court threatens them, but how much of a threat is it really? The apostles have read all about the nations raging in Psalm 2, and they know something very important: God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass.

Dear Christian, don’t you realize this about yourself, your friends, and even your worst enemies: though each of us is responsible for our willful actions, we all do “whatever God’s hand and God’s purpose determined before to be done.”

The cross, of course, is the greatest example of this. And the effect of it is that the Scripture here gives us a model prayer: not so much that we would be comfortable, but rather that we would be faithful. We can trust our ultimate comfort to God, who sovereignly works all things for our good.
In what difficulty is God’s sovereignty enabling you to focus on doing right?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

Monday, August 13, 2018

2018.08.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 13:1-4

Questions for Littles: How many souls should be subject (v1)? To whom should they be subject? Where does all authority come from? Who has appointed the authorities that exist? If we resist authority, what do we really resist (v2)? If we resist authority, what will we bring upon ourselves? To what kind of works are rulers a terror (v3)? What should we do, if we want to be unafraid of authority? From whom also, then, will we get praise? Whose minister to us is the authority (v4)? For what purpose? When should we be afraid? What does the authority bear, and no in vain? What is the authority to be upon him who practices evil? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we were reminded of the significance of the fact that every man must answer to God. Authority was not our idea, it was God’s. Everyone is under authority, and everyone must answer… and ultimately everyone will answer to the Lord.

This is why we must never resist the idea of authority. In our sinfulness, we don’t like to be under authority, but God doesn’t need to consult us on how He operates His creation.

When God told Noah, in Genesis 9, that the one who sheds man’s blood must have his blood shed by man, God commanded the death penalty for murderers. Of course, God could easily kill all murderers Himself, but in giving that command, He established that there must be an authority who oversees, who investigates, who determines guilt, who carries out sentences.

Sadly, man corrupts authority—just as he corrupts all of God’s good gifts. So, there are authorities of whom we might rightly be afraid… IF God hadn’t said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”

Ultimately, if we do what is good, even if the immediate authority above us does not approve, God does. He will take vengeance upon any wrong done to us. He will even reward us—for Jesus’s sake!—for any good that we have done in Christ. The ultimate authority will even praise us!

Note that this logic only applies if it is God who determines what is “good” in v3-4. We recognize God’s authority by refusing all commands to do evil!

However, if we do what God calls evil, His justice will fully agree with the just punishments that we receive. And that is good reason to be afraid!
What authorities are over you? When and why must you obey them?
Suggested Songs: ARP95B “Today If You Will Hear His Voice” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2018.08.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 78:67-72

Questions for Littles: Whom did the Lord not choose (v67)? Whom did He choose instead (v68)? Why? What did He construct there (v69)? Whom else did He choose (v70)? From where did He take him? From doing what did He take him (v71)? For doing what did He take him? What did he do and how (v72)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned about God’s plan for bringing the cycle of failure to an end.

At first, it seems like this passage is only about David the son of Jesse. After all, v70 calls him by name and v70-71 describe his beginning as a shepherd, following mama sheep and baby lambs.

But then v72 describes a result from this “shepherding” that we don’t quite come away from 2Samuel satisfied has happened: “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Bathsheba. Uriah. Amnon. Absalom. Adonijah. There’s a fair measure of integrity and skill missing.

Even worse, we go from king to king, finding that they are just about all thieves and robbers, just as the Lord declared they would be in 1Samuel 8, and as the Lord rebukes them for being in Ezekiel 34.

At last, there is One who comes and says, “I am the door of the sheep… all who came before Me are thieves and robbers… I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10).

As we go through the history of Israel, we wonder when the time will come that there will be one faithful generation after another? Then we put John 10 together with the end of Psalm 78, and we find that this is a big part of what Jesus means when He announces that the kingdom has arrived.

Jesus is the promised, forever-King. He is great David’s greater Son, the Good Shepherd. And it is His generations who transmit faith, worship, and obedience from one generation to the next. If ever there was a time when Psalm 78:5-7 would be fulfilled among God’s people, it is now!
How does Christ’s Kingship over the church come out in daily and weekly life?
Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”

Friday, August 10, 2018

2018.08.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 1:19-36

Questions for Littles: What did the Jews want to know from John (v19)? Whom did he say he was not (v20-21)? Who/what did he say that he was (v23)? With what did John baptize (v26)? What did John call Jesus in v29? What did he say Jesus would do? What reason does he give for Jesus being greater than he (v30)? What does John say he saw in v32? With what/whom does John say that Jesus will baptize (v33)? Whom does he say that Jesus is in v34?
In the Gospel reading this week, the Jews are looking for the Christ, and they wonder if John the Baptizer is He. But he’s not the Christ. He’s not Elijah who would come first (cf. Malachi 4:5). He’s not the Prophet (cr. Deuteronomy 18:15).

Ironically, John didn’t even know it, but Jesus would later identify him as the Elijah who would come (cf. Matthew 17:11-13). What John did now is who Jesus is: Yahweh Himself, come to save us.

First, John identifies himself as going ahead to announce the arrival of the Yahweh (v23, cf. Isaiah 40:3).

Second, even though Jesus is six months younger than John, John says that Jesus is greater than he is, because Jesus was before him (v26-30).

Third, John presents Jesus’ ability to pour out the Holy Spirit as being like John’s ability to pour out water (v33).

Finally, John directly says that Jesus is the Son of God (v34). The son of man is man. The Son of God is God.

Four proofs that John knew Jesus is God—and he still begins to doubt when he’s imprisoned. Let us never be surprised at how our faith can waver!

But even more amazing than the fact that Jesus is God is what He came to be—not just a man, but a lamb. No, not a cute, little, wooly mammal. A sacrifice. A man whose blood would be shed to pay for sins—not just of one man but of men from all over the world.

As God, and the Lamb, there no one whom we must worship but Jesus, and no one whom we must trust in but Jesus.
How have you responded to Jesus’s divinity? To Jesus’s sacrifice?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH280 “Wondrous King, All Glorious”

Thursday, August 09, 2018

2018.08.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 6:1-11

Questions for Littles: If we have a matter against one another, where should we “got to law” (v1)? Whom else will the saints judge (v2)? And whom else (v3)? How does the church esteem the judges of the world (v4)? What has already happened, when Christians go to court against one another (v7)? What should they rather accept and allow instead? What are they doing to one another (v8)? What kinds of people will not inherit the kingdom (v9-10)? Who had been among this group (v11)? What happened to them? In what name? By what Person?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we find out another role for church courts.

In the previous passage, we learned about the necessity of church discipline. Now, we find that church courts also help believers sort out their issues.

On the one hand, believers don’t esteem the judgment of unbelievers (v4, 6). Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. Justice and righteousness are defined by His law.

On the other hand, going to unbelievers brings shame upon the name of Christ—something that is itself a defeat. We should rather be cheated than allow something so terrible.

I wonder, dear reader, do we treasure Christ’s honor more than our rights?

We do if we are on our way to inheriting the kingdom. However, if we are willing to cheat one another, we should be very alarmed. If we are unrepentant about that, then perhaps our identity is not in Christ.

It’s an either-or proposition. Either your identity is in your sin (whether covetous, slanderer, homosexual, etc.), or it is in Christ.

What an encouragement to read the list of the different kinds of former sin-identities from which one may be redeemed! And yet it’s necessary to see that this change in identity is not optional.

Don’t let anyone deceive you. That’s a command from v9. Anyone whose identity is still bound up in their sin is still outside of Christ. What’s your identity—with your enslavement or your freedom?
In what situation do you have a chance to set aside your rights for Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or HB276 “There Is a Fountain”

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

2018.08.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 27:41-28:9

Questions for Littles: What did Esau plan to do (v41)? Who found out (v42)? Whom did she tell? Where did she want to send him (v43)? How long did she think it would take (v44)? How does Rebekah set Isaac up to send Jacob away (v46)? What does Isaac do in vv1-2? What does he add in vv3-4? When had he done this before? What is different this time? When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, what did Esau do (v6-9)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find sinful people being sinful, and our merciful God being merciful.

Esau is vengeful and murderous. Not only does he want to kill Jacob, but when he says that the days of mourning for Isaac are at hand, he may even be implying that he’s willing to accelerate his father’s pace to the grave.

Rebekah is still operating a spy network, and is ready to put another manipulative plan into action. She plays on the irritating Hittite daughters-in-law.

But we do see a repentant sinner, by God’s mercy. Isaac. He’d been fighting the idea of giving Jacob the blessing. He tried to put one over on God.

But, at last, he shook with the realization that Jacob would indeed be blessed. Now, he takes the opportunity to bless Jacob with his eyes wide-open (so to speak). We could have easily missed it, but vv3-4 are Isaac finally yielding himself to the Lord’s word and willingly giving Jacob the blessing of Abraham.

What a mercy of God to him to give Isaac such a second opportunity! And the greatest mercy of God is that all of this occurs in the process of bringing the Christ into the world.

Sadly, sometimes there are deep and abiding consequences to our sin. Rebekah thought her manipulations would separate her from Jacob for a few days. As far as we know, she never saw him again. Oh what a tangled web we weave…
What costly sins have you committed? How has God been merciful anyway?
Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

2018.08.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2Corinthians 4:13-18

Questions for Littles: What do those who believe do (v13)? What will He who raised up the Lord Jesus also do (v14)? Why does God save so many by grace (v15)? What do we not lose (v16)? What is perishing? What is being renewed day by day? What kind of affliction do we have (v17)? For how long? What is it working for us? How much and for how long? What do we look at (v18)? What is the difference in how long the seen lasts vs. how long the unseen lasts?
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from 2Corinthians 4:13-18.

What is it that a Christian believes and says? That since his faith is into Christ, his whole future is bound up with Christ. Faith unites us to Jesus, so if Jesus was raised, we will be raised.

All things work together for Him, and so all things work together for us. And more than that, all of this produces thanksgiving unto the glory of God. So, our being raised up in glory with Christ must certainly come.

What, then, is the purpose of our troubles? Why, to work glory for us, of course! And how big are our troubles by comparison to that exceeding weight of glory? Light. And how long are our troubles by comparison to that eternal glory? But a moment.

Now, it’s well enough to know that these things are true. However, our passage tells us that we do more than just know this truth; rather, we look at this truth.

We need to be dwelling upon the fact that we are guaranteed an eternal weight of glory. It’s in dwelling upon glory that our affliction is shown to be light and short. It’s in clinging to Christ—in whom that glory is guaranteed—that we are able to be inwardly renewed day by day, even if we are outwardly wasting away.

This is why we need faith, and why we must cry out for that most precious gift of God. What we need to look at is unseen to the physical eye. We can only see it with the eye of faith. God grant us to see it!—to see Him!
If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, how do you look for it from God?
Suggested songs: ARP16B “I’ll Bless the Lord Who Counsels Me” or HB378 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”

Monday, August 06, 2018

2018.08.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 78:1-8

Questions for Littles: To what are to give our ears and incline them (v1)? What will we be told (v2)? Where have we heard this (v3)? Whom will we tell (v4)? What will we tell? What has God established and where (v5)? What did He command our fathers to do? To whom else would this be communicated (v6)? What are the three parts of the application of this teaching (v7)? What had previous generations not done (v8)?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learned God’s plan for the reformation and preservation of His church: on generation teaching another generation of teachers—all of whom put that teaching into practice.

Of course, teaching begins with your ears. You can’t teach what you haven’t studied. In our flesh and our folly, we would like to skip to faith, worship, and obedience. But, the Lord’s plan for us and assignment to us begins with our minds. Listen and learn. We cannot teach the next generation until we have learned from the previous one.

What are we to learn in order to teach? The Lord’s testimonies and laws. His teachings and His commands. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.

There are three primary responses to this knowledge:

Faith. “That they may set their hope in God.” One generation doesn’t just teach the other. They put their hope in God, training the next generation by example as well.

Worship. “And not forget the works of God.” Worship is the first part of faith. We fall at His feet saying, “My Lord and my God.” We don’t forget His works, but rather acknowledge and praise Him.

Obedience. “But keep His commandments.” Obedience is worship in action in the life. Having acknowledged the Lord as God, we give up our right to ourselves and live according to whatever He says.
In what situations are you listening to God’s Word? In what situations are you teaching God’s Word? What place does worship have in each of your days? In each of your weeks? What difference does it make daily that you are living a life of obedience?
Suggested Songs: ARP95B “Today If You Will Hear His Voice” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”