Friday, November 30, 2018

2018.11.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 6:22-40

Friday, November 30, 2018 ▫ Read John 6:22-40
Questions for Littles: What day is it in v22? Where were the people? What did they see? What did they know about the disciples? What other boats were there now (v23)? Where did they go (v24)? Whom were they seeking? Where did they find Him (v25)? What did they ask Him? According to Jesus, what wasn’t the reason that they were seeking Him (v26)? What was the reason that they were seeking Him? For what kind of food does He tell them not to labor (v27)? For what kind of food does He tell them to labor? Who will give them that food? How do they know that He will give them that food? What kind of labor do they ask Him about in v28? What does Jesus say is the “work” of God (v29)? In order for them to believe, what do they demand that Jesus perform (v30)? What kind of sign do they suggest (v31)? How does this relate to v26? Whom does Jesus say is the giver of true bread (v32)? What is the bread of God (v33)? For what do they ask (v34)? What does Jesus call Himself in v35? What two things will never be done again by a person who comes to Jesus for life? But what does Jesus say that His hearers are not doing (v36)? Who will come to Jesus (v37)? What will Jesus not do with those who come to Him? From where has Jesus come (v38)? What has Jesus not come to do? What has Jesus come to do? Whose will does Jesus describe in v39? To whom has the Father given particular people? What will Jesus not do with any of those people? What will Jesus certainly do with all of those people? What has the Father willed to give to everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him (v40)? What will Jesus do with that person on the last day? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus rebukes people for seeking something from Him. It’s not so much that He wasn’t the One that they were seeking. Rather, the problem was that He Himself wasn’t what they were seeking from Him.

They were hungry for bread, when they should have been hungry for Jesus. The sign didn’t announce that Jesus was where to get bread. The sign was announcing that Jesus IS the bread.

What is it that you seek with all your heart? Strength? Satisfaction? Joy? Belonging? A clear conscience? Every proper thing that there is to seek is to be found not merely from Jesus, but in Jesus—Jesus Himself.

Even the right work to do is to stop hoping in doing works but to believe in Him. Do not even believe in believing in Him—that is to believe in faith. But true faith doesn’t hope in itself. It believes only in Jesus!
What have you been seeking from Jesus so much that you risk seeking it more than Jesus Himself? What would it look like to seek Him more than it?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

Thursday, November 29, 2018

2018.11.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Questions for Littles: What is Paul declaring to the Corinthians in v1? What did he preach? What had they received? In what did they stand? By what are they saved (v2)? What other kind of faith is there than saving faith (end of v2)? What had Paul—first of all—delivered to them (v3)? For what had Christ died? In accordance with what? What was done with Him then (v4a)? But what did He do after He was buried? In accordance with what? By whom was He seen (v5a)? Then by whom (v5b)? Then by whom (v6)? After the gathering of over 500, by whom was He seen again (v7)? By how many of the apostles? Who was last (v8)? What does Paul say about the timing of his own becoming an apostle? What does Paul say about his place among the apostles (v9a)? Why (v9b)? How did such an one as Paul become an apostle (v10a)? What else did God’s grace enable Paul to do  (v10b)? But what is the same, no matter which apostle was preaching it, or which believer was believing it (v11)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we continued upon the theme of the use of the understanding in worship. Now, the apostle addresses us not upon the subject of how the understanding must be used in worship, but rather upon the subject of what it is that we should be understanding, as we think in worship.

What do you think about in worship? That’s a good question, and it needs answering, because v2 reminds us that there is something that looks like faith but is really empty. What is first of all? What is most important?

Christ. Christ dead for sins. Christ buried. Christ risen again.

Apostolic signs have been a subject for much of this letter, and Paul here clearly makes the case that there are no apostles after him—so that time coming of having a completed Bible, about which chapter 13 spoke (and which Jesus had promised in John 16) was coming soon.

But the signs of a true apostle did more than confirm the written Word of the apostles. The signs were also confirming the eye-witness of the apostles. The apostles, as well as these more than 500 others, were eye-witnesses of the resurrected Christ.

O, dear Christian, there is nothing so important to us as the resurrected Christ! And to think much of ourselves is directly opposed to humbling ourselves low before Him. By the grace of God alone we have whatever calling or place we find ourselves in. By the grace of God alone may we be faithful in that calling or place.

The most important thing about our place in the church is that, in it, we carry forward the gospel of Christ dead for sins, buried, and risen again! And He--this Christ--must consume our attention during worship.
How do you dwell upon our resurrected Lord? How often? How does it affect your life?
Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018.11.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 9

Read Joshua 9
Questions for Littles: What did all the other kings begin to do (v1-2)? What did the Gibeonites do instead? What did they want Joshua to make with them (v6)? What kind of country did they know that they needed to look like they were from for Joshua to do this? Whom do they say in v9 is the reason that they want to be in covenant with Israel? What does v14 highlight the Israelites did not ask? What did Israel learn after three days (v16)? But what didn’t Israel do and why (v18-19)? What does Israel decide to do with them (v23, 25-27)? What answer do they give for why they acted deceitfully (v24)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have an apparent act of great faith in Yahweh—but not from the Israelites.

Not once, but twice, the Gibeonites proclaim the greatness of Yahweh as the reason that they have done something. First, He is the reason that they were determined to get Israel to accept them in covenant. Second, He is the reason that they were willing even to be deceptive, if it would just mean that they would end up on His side.

Interestingly, the Israelites are the ones whom the passage sets up in a negative comparison with the Gibeonites. They are the ones who seem to treat it as a small thing to have the LORD on their side. They don’t even seek His counsel—even though it is apparent that they suspect that the Gibeonites are being deceptive. But what do they do? Take some of the Gibeonites’ provisions.

Not only were these much more meager than the ones that the Lord had just given them much of at Ai. The Gibeonites’ things were not even as good as what Israel themselves had dragged around the wilderness for 40 years, because the LORD whom they were taking for granted had not allowed their things to age and wear out.

It’s very interesting that the Lord Himself does not speak to rebuke Israel throughout this chapter. Why not? What does that accomplish? Well, one thing that it certainly does, as far as the telling of the story is concerned, is that it keeps the focus upon the Gibeonites and their valuing of the Lord.

And there they are, at the end of the passage: woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation. The Israelites finally found a permanent scapegoat for their most tedious chores! But do you know what else needs much wood and water? The house of God (v23), the altar of Yahweh (v27). What a blessing for him who desires to end up close to Yahweh no matter what!

When may you draw near the Lord? How urgently do you make use of those times?
Suggested songs: ARP84A “How Lovely, LORD” or TPH84B “O LORD of Hosts, How Lovely”

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018.11.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 1:67-79

Questions for Littles: Who was singing this song (v67) to whom (v63)? What was the Lord God of Israel doing at this time (68)? What was He raising up (v69)? How long has God been speaking through His prophets (70)? What has God been promising since the world began (v71)? What was promised to the fathers (v72)? According to His promise, why was He saving us from our enemies (v74)? What does v75 present as the two main parts of serving God? What did Zacharias tell his baby son that he would be called, in v76? Before whom would John go (v76b)? What would he be preaching that Jesus will do when He comes (v77)? What would the sunrise from God (v78) do for those who are in darkness and death (v79)? 
This week’s Call to Worship, Invocation, and Confession of sin came from Luke 1:68-79. These amazing statements are made to John the Baptizer by his daddy when he is just 8 days old and being circumcised.

From the beginning, God has been a speaking, promising, saving God. The promise of salvation from the hand of that great enemy who hates us first came in Genesis 3:15, and this passage tells us that there were no ages before that. Throughout the ages, God has been this covenant-making, covenant-keeping God!

And His purpose for us is to respond in love and gratitude. The salvation that v71 promises has a purpose, about which v74 tells us: that we might serve the Lord God without fear. That we might know that He is for us, that He has loved us, that He has saved us… and therefore we would not be afraid of anything else, but live our entire lives as service to Him!

What does that service look like? What great feats of spiritual strength, or mission field victories, or mind-boggling sacrifices make up this service?! Simply this: to live a holy and righteous life before Him, day in and day out (v75). That’s not particularly glamorous before the eyes of men, but it is glorious before the eyes of God!

First things first, though. We don’t even deserve to be able to live lives like that! That’s John’s big announcement: “I baptize you with water that says that you need cleansing from sin, but Jesus is going to come and baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is going to give you real spiritual life to believe in Him, and He is going to suffer the fire of Hell on the cross so that when you believe into Him, you will know that your sins were cleansed there! At the cross!

That is where the sunrise of life bursts through our darkness and death: God, in His tender mercy, has given Himself to be punished for our sin and to be our life. Hallelujah!
What are your daily activities? What does it look like for that to be done “in service to God”? Why don’t you deserve to be able to do that? What has Jesus done about what you deserve? 
Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH538 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

Monday, November 26, 2018

2018.11.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 2:18-25

Questions for Littles: What did God say was not good (v18)? What did He say that He would make for the man? What did God form out of the ground (v19)? Where did He bring them? Why? What did Adam do (v19-20)? What could not be found? What did God do to Adam in v21? What did God do with the rib (v22)? Where did He bring the woman? What did Adam say in v23? Whom must a man leave to be joined to whom (v24)? What do they become? What does v25 say about their clothes? What does it say about their hearts?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we learn that one of the ongoing glories of the marriage covenant is the display of God’s glorious provision of a husband and wife each to the other.

“Wow!” or “At last!” or, as NKJV puts it, “This is now!” … Adam was wowed by the woman. What wowed him so much? Well not only that she was exactly corresponding to him (v18, end of v20), but that she is even a part of him and completely united to him. Look at the song that he sings upon the occasion of meeting his wife, “bone of my bone… flesh of my flesh… she was taken from man.”

Yes, he expresses the authority of his covenant headship by naming her “woman,” but this comes in the context of being floored by him and her being one. This is what the Lord was showing Adam in the entire process. Mission accomplished.

What does that mean for you and me? Answering that question is the mission of v24: “Therefore…”
  1. Clean break. A man shall leave his father and mother. In light of the fifth commandment, that’s quite a statement. A marriage is a new beginning, but also a sure end. So wholly do husband and wife each give themselves to the other that prior first priorities are shattered.
  2. Clinging commitment. A husband and wife cling to one another. They stick, no matter what. Like the most inextricable case ever of gum in the hair. For Adam, as for our marriages today, there was no going back. This was forever.
  3. Communion. Yes, there is union here. As Jesus authoritatively paraphrased it, “the two become one flesh” (cf. Matt 19:5-6). But that phrase is more than math (1+1=1). It’s the fellowship of a shared life, in which each is 100% for the other, and the blurring of the line of where one ends and the other begins.
How are you preparing for marriage? Maintaining your marriage? Being a blessing to others’ marriages? Helping others prepare for marriage?
Suggested Songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

Saturday, November 24, 2018

2018.11.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 2:18-25

Questions for Littles: What did God say was not good (v18)? What did He say that He would make for the man? What did God form out of the ground (v19)? Where did He bring them? Why? What did Adam do (v19-20)? What could not be found? What did God do to Adam in v21? What did God do with the rib (v22)? Where did He bring the woman? What did Adam say in v23? Whom must a man leave to be joined to whom (v24)? What do they become? What does v25 say about their clothes? What does it say about their hearts?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we learn about the covenant of marriage.

After God has made clear to Adam that he exists in covenant with God as his covenant head, God now gives him the gift of marriage, in which he is to be his wife’s covenant head.

The first thing Adam had to hear was that he was not meant to be alone. It is really quite shocking to hear that something is not good, after everything has been good up until this point.

So God proceeds to help Adam feel the reality of that. In one sense, Adam is already beginning to subdue the earth and take dominion over the living creature. God yields to Adam the privilege of naming each of the land creatures and flying creatures.

But there’s a problem. As Adam names the other living creatures, one thing becomes painfully clear: none of those creatures correspond to him. He truly is alone. It’s at that point that God takes the rib, closes up the space, and puts Adam to sleep.

The results are spectacular, as evidenced by Adam’s almost-song in v23. This woman exactly corresponds to him! As we had learned in chapter one, she is created in God’s image every bit as much as he is.

But there is more. While they are equally in God’s image, Adam is still her covenant head. Here is the second example of one living creature receiving life from another. The first was when the Lord Himself breathed into Adam’s nostrils to make him a living creature.

As Adam names her, he is taking to himself the responsibility of headship over her. But it is not a form of domineering oppression. Rather, we’ve spent the bulk of chapter 2 watching Adam learn from the Lord what good covenant headship looks like. And here, he’s committing to be that for his bride.

Ultimately, it is the last Adam who is the perfect groom. When Christ weds His perfected bride to Himself, all other marriages will have been superseded by an eternal marriage that is infinitely better. There are many who don’t marry at all in this life, and many more whose marriages are a source of great grief. But even if we have had a blessed marriage, let us look forward most of all to the marriage of the Lamb!
What does being a good husband or wife look like? How do Christ and the church do that?
Suggested Songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH45B “My Heart Does Overflow”

Friday, November 23, 2018

2018.11.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 6:15-21

Questions for Littles: Who perceived that the people were going to take Him by force (v15)? What were they going to do to Him? Where did Jesus go? With whom? Where did the disciples go (v16)? What did they get into (v17)? Who had not come by dark? What arose (v18)? Why? How far had they rowed in v19? Whom did they see walking on the sea? How did they feel? What did Jesus tell them not to be (v20)? What did they do then in v21? What happened to the boat immediately?
In the Gospel reading this week, the Lord Jesus has a very strange response to recognizing that the people want to make Him King. He literally runs to the mountain.

Didn’t Jesus want to be King? Of course He does, but only in the manner and sequence the Lord … we have seen before the suggestion that Jesus go a different way and skip the cross. That suggestion came from Satan.

Though we know that He is on the mountain praying, and other accounts actually mention that He personally dismissed the crowds. This account of the incident doesn’t mention either of those things. Instead, it just tells us that He went up the mountain (alone, this time—another Moses reference), and that He waited until after dark to come to His disciples.

Jesus seems to be sending the message that He’s there at this point particularly for the disciples, not the crowds. In the next passage, the crowds will actually express some irritation that He had given them the slip.

Considering the context, what stands out is our Lord’s commitment to being with His disciples. Obviously, neither the dark nor the storm nor even gravity bother Christ. But they are bothering those who are dear to Him.

So, Jesus ignores it all and walks across the water to comfort them and get into the boat, which arrives immediately at the land where they were going. Soon, He will be driving away the crowds with His divine and Messianic claims—while using the very same to teach His disciples and grow their faith in Him. He wants to be our King. On His terms alone!
How does King Jesus want you to grow in Him? Where can we learn what to do?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH273 “Break Thou the Bread of Life”

Thursday, November 22, 2018

2018.11.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

Questions for Littles: What kinds of things did each member of the Corinthian church wish to contribute to the worship assemblies (v26)? What principle was to govern how each was to be done? How many were permitted to speak in a tongue total (v27)? How many at a time? What had to be done if it were in a tongue? What was he to do if no one could translate (v28)? How many of those who had the gift of prophecy could speak total (v29)? What were the others who had the gift of prophecy to do? With whom else’s words did they have a similar role (v37)? How many prophets may speak at once (v30)? For what purpose does each speaker speak (v31)? Over what are the prophets to exercise control (v32)? Why (v33)? Who were not to be the speakers for any of these things (v34)? What else taught that? Where and to whom should they ask their questions (v35)? Why? Why wasn’t Corinth permitted to come up with its own “worship style” (v36)? What would all true prophets in the Corinth church acknowledge about Paul’s letter (v37)? What was true of those who failed to do so (v38)? This passage is a summary of the teaching about which two gifts during the period of new revelation (v39)? What enduring principle applied, even in that period and to those gifts (v40)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn the importance of the Spiritual gift of prophecy during the time that the New Testament was being completed.

It was not just sermon texts that were coming by way of prophecy. Even the singing was coming that way, just as we had also learned earlier in the chapter that the praying was.

Incidentally, this is another great argument for the first-day Sabbath of the Lord’s Day. If the churches during this period were entirely dependent upon the immediate revelatory work of the Holy Spirit, it certainly was not they who determined which day of the week they gathered upon, and we know that the Holy Spirit was gathering this church on the first day of the week (cf. 16:1-2).

The use of tongues in public worship was only if there was also interpretation, so that it could function as prophecy. Otherwise, as we learned in the previous passage, tongues was only an authenticating sign for the conviction of unbelievers.

Only those with the gift of prophecy could lead the service (and none of these, therefore, were permitted to be women—even as God taught in the Law in Genesis 2-3, cf. 1Tim 2:11-15). And they had other duties, including affirming the authenticity of the words that other prophets spoke and acknowledging as Scripture those letters from the apostles which were commandments of the Lord Jesus.

And all of this was subject to two primary considerations that of course must still govern our worship today: that everything be done to build up the others in the congregation (v26), and therefore also that everything be done peacefully and calmly (v32-33) and also decently and in order (v40). God grant to us such worship!
How can you help corporate worship be more intelligible for yourself? For others?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018.11.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 8:30-35

Questions for Littles: What did Joshua build in v30? To whom? Where? According to whose command (v31)? Written where? What could not be done to this altar? What did they offer on it? In whose presence did the writing in v32 take place? Upon what did Joshua write? What did Joshua write? Who stood on opposite sides of the ark in v33? What particular groups are mentioned as being there? In front of where were one half of them standing? In front of where were the other half of them standing? Who had commanded this meeting? What was the ultimate purpose of it? What did Joshua read in v34? Which particular parts does v34 emphasize to us that he read? What does v35 emphasize about how much Joshua read? What does it emphasize about to whom Joshua read?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, Joshua has what seems like an odd response to victory over Jericho and Ai: he makes an altar and a giant Ten Commandments monument (Deuteronomy 27 specified that it should be upon large, white-washed stone) in the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim.

Once the sacrifices are offered and the monument is set up, the nation shouts back and forth at each other in a ceremony to renew the vows of the covenant.

The way Moses had said it in Deuteronomy 27, these blessings and curses would hearken back to Moses’s own day, on which he had said, “Take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of Yahweh your God” (27:9). So here, at the end of Joshua 8, it is something like a marriage renewal ceremony.

And what a ceremony it is! At first the people of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali—standing together on the foot of Mount Ebal—shout across the valley, “Cursed shall be… cursed shall be… cursed shall be…” And after every curse, the whole nation says, “Amen!”

And at the foot of Mount Gerazim, the other six tribes stand and shout blessings across the valley (perhaps those in the first half of Deuteronomy 28).

If you go back and read some of the particular applications of the ten commandments in Deuteronomy 27, you see that this national covenanting ceremony emphasized the individual, moral responsibility of every single Israelite, right down to little children.

And that is exactly what we see in our Old Testament passage today. Everyone was there—from the highest officials of the land whose duty it was to apply the law to others, to the women and children and even foreigner residents who were expected to know and keep the law.

Each one’s personal obedience was an essential part of the national covenant. And your own, personal, obedience to Christ’s law is an essential part of your family’s covenantal relationship with God, your church’s covenantal relationship with God, and your nation’s covenantal relationship with God.

Be careful not to confuse this with the legalistic idea that your obedience keeps you righteous before God. Only Christ’s obedience and sacrifice do that. However, these other covenantal relationships of which you are a part are very real. And you can expect real blessings and real curses to result from individual obedience or sin… just ask the nation that had this ceremony following the incident with Achan!!
Of what household, church, and nation are you a member? How does your morality affect them, both internally and also covenantally, before God? Who/what is the only hope for improving this?
Suggested songs: ARP65A “Praise Awaits You, God” or TPH89B “My Song Forever Shall Record”

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

2018.11.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 24

Read Psalm 24
Questions for Littles: To whom does the earth belong (v1)? How much of the fullness of what it contains belongs to Him? What else belongs to Him? Who else belong to Him? Why—what has the Lord done to the earth (v2)? What questions does v3 ask? How does v4 answer? What two things does v5 say He receives? From whom does He receive them? What does v6 call the generation of those who seek God? What commands do v7 and 9 give? To whom? What questions do v8 and 10 ask? What answer do they give?  
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer of Invocation and Confession of Sin came from Psalm 24, which have to do with the worthiness of God, and the worthiness required of those who would come near to Him.

First, the Lord is worthy of everything because He made everything. Every single thing belongs to Him. Every single person belongs to Him.

So, He is worthy of worship that is absolutely perfect. But are we worthy to give Him that worship? If we look at the criteria in v4, we have to answer that we are not!

The clean hands in v4 are not our hands. The pure heart is not our heart. The faithfully devoted soul and reliably true lips are not ours either. We know this to be true because of our Scriptural theology and personal experience, but we can also see it in the fanfare in vv7-10.

The One who is ascending the hill of Yahweh to stand in His holy place is Yahweh of hosts, the King of glory Himself! For Him, the gates are to lift up their heads. For Him, the everlasting doors are to be lifted up. He is the Champion, returning from battle!

On this side of the cross, it is not so difficult to know how this can be. The LORD Himself became a man, our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. His hands have always been perfectly clean. His heart pure. His soul faithful. His lips true.

We are His and belong to Him by faith—by seeking Christ, and in Christ seeking the very face of God. And Christ has received for us blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of our salvation.

Christ alone is worthy, and we must cling to Him alone as our worthiness!
What kind of worship does God deserve? How are you going to give it to Him? 
Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH24B “The Earth and the Riches”

Monday, November 19, 2018

2018.11.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 2:4-17

Read Genesis 2:4-17
Questions for Littles: This passage is the history of what came from what (v4)? On what day did 1:31 say that God had completed making the heavens and the earth? Plants of what and herbs of what had not yet grown (v5)? Why—what did this specific type of plant and herb growth need to be done to the ground and by whom? What had God provided in advance for watering (v6)? From what did God form the man (v7)? What did God plant (v8)? Where? Whom did He put there? What did the Lord God make to grow out of the ground (v9)? What two things does v9 say about these trees? What two special trees were in the midst of the garden? What came out of Eden to water the garden (v10)? Into what did it split? What was the first river called (v11)? What land did it skirt? What was there? What else was there (v12)? What was the second river called (v13)? What did it go around? What was the third river called (v14)? Toward where did it go? What was the fourth river? What did the Lord God put the man into the garden to do (v15)? What did God command the man in v16? What did God forbid the man in v17? What did God say would happen if the man disobeyed?

From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we were introduced to the covenant of works. The Lord provided Adam with every possible good, in addition to a sacramental “Tree of Life” holding out the promise of some eternal state of life even greater than what Adam had in the garden.

And He gave Adam general duties (serve and keep) that also have (here in Genesis 2, and throughout Scripture) very specific meanings at times: worship and obey.

Sadly, for Adam, he broke the terms of this wonderful covenant of life. The penalty was clear: dying you shall die. And it was much worse than merely returning to the dust. Adam died spiritually. He brought himself not only under God’s curse but under His wrath.

But it wasn’t sad merely for Adam. We were in Adam. We died that day with him, because we sinned that day in Him. We came under His wrath and curse.

Wondrously, God has not left us in that sin and misery. Nor has He restored us to the garden of Eden. Every good gift in Eden has a superior counterpart in Jesus Christ. He is the last Adam, who brings us into a better covenant, with better gifts, and which He has perfectly kept on our behalf!
Which Adam are you in? How do you know? What has he earned for you? 
Suggested Songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH89B “My Song Forever Shall Record”

Saturday, November 17, 2018

2018.11.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 2:4-17

Questions for Littles: This passage is the history of what came from what (v4)? On what day did 1:31 say that God had completed making the heavens and the earth? Plants of what and herbs of what had not yet grown (v5)? Why—what did this specific type of plant and herb growth need to be done to the ground and by whom? What had God provided in advance for watering (v6)? From what did God form the man (v7)? What did God plant (v8)? Where? Whom did He put there? What did the Lord God make to grow out of the ground (v9)? What two things does v9 say about these trees? What two special trees were in the midst of the garden? What came out of Eden to water the garden (v10)? Into what did it split? What was the first river called (v11)? What land did it skirt? What was there? What else was there (v12)? What was the second river called (v13)? What did it go around? What was the third river called (v14)? Toward where did it go? What was the fourth river? What did the Lord God put the man into the garden to do (v15)? What did God command  the man in v16? What did God forbid the man in v17? What did God say would happen if the man disobeyed?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we see the Lord setting for Adam an example of generous covenant headship. The first thing that we notice is that the Lord makes for Adam a situation for which he is needed. God has created all of the plant, herb, and tree kinds, but He has left for the man to cultivate coordinated production/reproduction of these plants.

Second, we see God’s provision of water—both the mist that is watering the Adamah (ground—different word than has been used for ‘earth’ or ‘field’ up until this point), and then especially the rivers, which we’ll note more about later.

Third, we see God’s provision of relationship. This is the first use of that particular word for forming, and it would be intimate enough if the man were merely the first creature that the Lord described as being crafted in this fashion. But, it’s far more intimate that the Lord Himself breathes into the man’s nostrils his very soul. This is simply unique among the creatures.

Fourth, we see the Lord’s provision for man’s mind. Did you notice that He specifies that He made trees “pleasant to the sight” even before “good for food”? God has created the man with a capacity to appreciate beauty, and He surrounds the man with beauty to appreciate.

Fifth, obviously, God provides the man with food—permitting him to eat freely of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Sixth, He provides the man with raw materials for making beautiful things—not just gold but of a particular quantity. Also other beautiful stones, possibly implying that there are still others as well.

Finally, he gives the man a law to obey. This may not seem like much to you, but it gives the man a clear and easy way to please God and to show that he delights to belong to God and submit to Him. Taking this together with the “third” paragraph above, we can see what an important part this was of God’s provision to Adam. And to us!
How has God provided for you in each of these ways? Praise and serve Him!
Suggested Songs: ARP145C “The Eyes of All Are Turned to You” or TPH551 “We Plow the Fields”

Friday, November 16, 2018

2018.11.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 6:1-14

Questions for Littles: Where did Jesus go (v1)? Who followed Him (v2a)? Why (2b)? Where did Jesus go in v3? What does v4 specifically mention as being near? What does Jesus see in v5? What did Jesus ask Philip? Why did Jesus ask this (v6)? What does Philip say would not be sufficient in v7? For what would it not even be sufficient? What does Andrew point out in v8-9? What does Jesus say for them to do in v10? How many men were there? What did Jesus do first, when He took the loaves (v11)? Then what did He do? With what did He do likewise? When did Jesus speak to the disciples the words in v12? What did He tell them? How many baskets did they gather up (v13)? Of what? What did the men who saw the sign say in v14? 
In the Gospel reading this week, the primary issue, as usual, is: who is Jesus? John led off the book telling us that Jesus displays His glory as greater than Moses, and there are many gentle reminders of that in the passage this week.

First, Jesus leads His disciples over the sea and up the mountain. Remind you of anyone? And just in case we happened to miss that, John actually interrupts the narrative to point out that the Passover is coming. The Baptizer had said that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Here, Jesus feeds a multitude with miraculous bread. As we get further into the chapter, we’ll find that the people don’t miss the connection. In fact, when Jesus urges them to believe in Him, they will counter that the reproduction of manna bread would be a belief-worthy sign.

Finally, pay careful attention to what they say in v14: “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” This is a direct reference to Moses’s own prophecy that the Lord would send a prophet like him but greater.

For Christ’s part, we still remember from chapter 3 that He was entrusting Himself to no man. His wider popularity would prove to be very temporary, but Jesus is focusing on His own disciples.

Jesus knows what He is about to do, but He asks Philip the provocative question in v5-6. He has the disciples organize the people, distribute the food, gather up the leftovers. He is displaying to them who He is, that they would behold His glory as of the only begotten of the Father. Have you beheld that glory on the pages of Scripture? What have you done about it?
How can we tell if who Jesus is to us is more important than what He does for us?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH273 “Break Thou the Bread of Life”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

2018.11.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 14:1-25

Questions for Littles: What are the Corinthians to pursue (v1)? What word in the English of v1 isn’t in the original? What does the church receive from prophecies that it does not receive from tongues (v3-5)? What is the problem with tongues (v6-11)? What spiritual effect should they seek for the church (v12)? With what does the apostle teach us to pray and sing (v14-15, 18-19)? What do others need to be able to do after praying or singing (v16)? What does this mean that they need to be during praying and singing? What does this do for them (v17)? What are tongues for (v22)? To whom? But for whom is prophecy (v22)? Yet, what happens to an unbeliever, when the church is speaking the Word of God in a language that can be understood (v24-25)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we continue hearing about the superiority of love (a sign that the true Word has taken effect in the hearers) over tongues (a sign that the true Word has been spoken) and prophecy (the speaking of the true Word).

As the apostle told us back in 8:1, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” This building up, this edification, must be the purpose at which the exercise of spiritual roles in worship aims.

Therefore, edification takes center stage here in chapter 14, but notice what else takes center stage: the understanding. God’s method of transforming us is through the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2). Jesus prays that we would be sanctified by God’s Word and its truth (Jn 17:17).

So, worship should aim at edification, and it should do so by being intellectual, cerebral, theological. In fact, the “Amen” in worship is designed to be an indication that while others are speaking, the rest of the congregation is paying attention and thinking and processing what is said. Then, to show that we have done so and give ourselves up to the Word to agree with it, we say, “Amen.”

But shouldn’t worship be evangelistic? Absolutely! That’s why, v24-25 say, that it should be so theological. It is theology that God has appointed as the means of exposing the unbeliever’s heart and putting him onto his face as a worshiper! Praise God for (and by means of!) theological worship!
Where can you find worship that aims at the understanding like this?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Session Meeting Friday, but Prayer Meeting CANCELED for tonight (14-Nov)

Due to illness, the Session meeting that had been planned for Monday was moved to Friday the 16th at 6p.m. As usual, all are welcome.

For the same reason, tonight's (14-Nov) Prayer Meeting is canceled. We encourage everyone to take that time for use in prayer. Corporate prayer is a biblically essential, but too-little practiced, component of being a true congregation of Christ's church. Though tonight may not be corporate in the sense of being gathered, it may still be so in the sense of a concerted action.

2018.11.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 8:1-29

Questions for Littles: What does Yahweh say to Joshua in v1? What difference does the Lord permit between what they do to Ai and what they were to do to Jericho? How many men does Joshua choose in v3? How does this compare to the number from before (cf. 7:4)? What kind of attack do they make (v4)? Why (2b)? How does Joshua take advantage of the previous defeat (v5-6)? Despite all this clever planning, what explanation does Joshua give for their sure victory in v7? What does Joshua tell them to do next in v8? How many of the thirty thousand were in the ambush (v12)? How many of his people did the King of Ai call together to pursue Joshua’s first force (v16-17)? What signal did Yahweh tell Joshua to use in v18? Of what other great signal does this remind you of a the destruction of the Egyptian army? What (who!) are the sea waters this time (19-26)? What did the people of Israel take (v27)? According to whose Word? What was still the case with the place of Ai at the time this Scripture was written (28)? Was the king left alive in defiance of God’s Word (29)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find the difference that it makes to have the Lord with you, as opposed to having the Lord against you.

Of course, one great difference is that you cannot lose in the one case, while in the other case you cannot win. But this is a little like when Joseph was sold into Egypt by his brothers. The text of Genesis at that point kept saying “Yahweh was with him… Yahweh was with him… Yahweh was with him in all that he did.” So, the careful reader says, “Yahweh being with him must affect not only the results but what he himself is like and does—what does it look like for Yahweh to be with him?”

We want to know too, for we trust the Lord and look to Him to be with us, and desire to follow Him in truth. Perhaps most surprising is that greater confidence in the Lord leads not to pride but humility. When left to himself in chapter 7, Joshua was arrogant—sending just three thousand against twelve thousand. With the Lord with him, he musters 50,000, and employs shrewd tactics rather than a frontal assault. But Joshua doesn’t urge them to put confidence in the plan but rather that the Lord has said that He has given it to them. Finally, there are a couple more instances that emphasize their following the Lord’s own Word.

When we say, “may the Lord be with me to give me success,” let us learn here that we are saying, “may the Lord be with me to give me humility,” and “may the Lord be with me to give me wisdom” and “may the Lord be with me to give me faith” and “may the Lord be with me to give me obedience.”
In what situation do you most need the Lord with you right now? What does courage look like in that situation? Humility? Cleverness? Faith? Obedience?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH164 “God Himself Is with Us”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018.11.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 121

Read Psalm 121
Questions for Littles: What type of song does the psalmist label this Psalm? To where does he lift his eyes (v1a)? What question does he ask (1b)? What is the answer (2a)? What has the Lord done (2b)? What will the Lord not allow, according to the first part of v3? What is the Lord doing (3b)? What will He not do? Whom else is the Lord keeping (4a)? What two things will He not do (4b)? What name does He repeat for Himself twice in v5? What is He in 5a? What is He in 5b? Where? What cannot strike you during the day (6a)? What cannot strike you at night (6b)? From what will Yahweh keep you (7a)? What will Yahweh keep in the second part of v7? What two things does Yahweh keep in the first part of v8? When? For how long?
This week’s Call to Worship and Prayer for Help came from Psalm 121. Prayers for help have often been used as calls to worship—in the great Reformed church in Geneva, Calvin always used Psalm 124:8 as a call to worship, “Our help is in the name of Yahweh, who made the heavens and the earth.”

This is exactly what the Psalmist tells himself here in v2. He has looked up to the hills, and there are a couple possibilities here of the significance of that. Either there is danger in the hills, and he needs to know where the help is going to come from if the danger appears. Or he is already needing the help where he is, and he is looking up to the hills wondering if help might possibly come from there.

But that’s just the point of the Psalm isn’t it? If he needs help already, then help is already with him. Yahweh is there. If he is wondering if help may be available in a pinch when it is suddenly needed, then, yes, he can be sure that the help will be available; because Yahweh will be there.

And will the help be enough? Of course it will be enough! Just as there is no uncertainty about the presence of the help, so also there is no uncertainty about the power of the help. Yahweh has made heaven and earth!
Dear believer, are you in need of help? Are you looking at the near future and anticipating needing it? Are you wondering if it will be enough? It will!
For what particular situation do you need help? How will you remind yourself of the truth of this Psalm now? How will you remember it then?
Suggested songs: ARP121 “I Lift My Eyes and See the Hills” or TPH121A “I Lift My Eyes Up to the Hills”

Monday, November 12, 2018

2018.11.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 1:28-2:3

Questions for Littles: What did God do to the man and the woman at the beginning of v28? What is the first thing that He told them to do? What two things were they to do to the earth? What were they to do to the living things of sea, air, and land? What did God command them to see (v29)? For what did God give them every plant? To whom else did God give every plant for food (v30)? What did God see in v31? Then what came? And then what came? What did this evening and morning conclude? The creation of what things were finished (v1)? On what day did God stop working (v2)? How many times does He say this in v2? What two things did God do to the seventh day in v3? Why?
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we saw God’s great plan for man and God’s great provision for man. But, the greatest part of each was the Sabbath day.

God’s plan for man is great. He blesses them to be fruitful. He blesses them to multiply. He blesses them to fill the earth. He blesses them to subdue it.

In these last two, in particular, they are to image God. God created a heavens and earth that was void and without form. He filled the empty void. He subdued the chaos of the formlessness. And now He has created man in His image to carry both the filling and the forming to the next level. He even created other kinds of living creatures for man to take dominion over, just as God has dominion over everything and everyone everywhere.

So, what does God call man to do on his very first day of following this great plan? Rest. The whole day. Why? Because God is resting. As we learn from God’s own interpretation of this passage in Hebrews 4, the rest here is something other than napping, or success, or even completion of work. It is an entering into the rest of God Himself. It’s the kind of rest that we anticipate having not at the weekend or at retirement, but rather in glory itself forever and ever.

God also makes great provision for man: every green herb for food—and much more, as we’re about to see in chapter 2. But the first and greatest provision is fellowship with Himself on the day that He declares blessed and holy. Man fell, but God maintained to us His greatest plan and provision!
Why is the Lord’s Day the most important day in your week? How does your practice of keeping it show that it fulfills that role in your life?
Suggested Songs: ARP92 “It’s Good to Thank the Lord” or TPH152 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

Saturday, November 10, 2018

2018.11.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 1:28-2:3

Questions for Littles: What did God do to the man and the woman at the beginning of v28? What is the first thing that He told them to do? What two things were they to do to the earth? What were they to do to the living things of sea, air, and land? What did God command them to see (v29)? For what did God give them every plant? To whom else did God give every plant for food (v30)? What did God see in v31? Then what came? And then what came? What did this evening and morning conclude? The creation of what things were finished (v1)? On what day did God stop working (v2)? How many times does He say this in v2? What two things did God do to the seventh day in v3? Why?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we have a rather odd sequence of events.

First, God gives the man and the woman several rather demanding tasks.

They are to be fruitful and multiply. As we were thinking about on Monday, this meant more than just having babies. It meant teaching those babies to love and obey God.

Second, they are to fill the earth and subdue it. That sounds like a monumental task. In fact, it sounds a whole lot like what God has been doing to the creation since it was tohu and bohu (chaotic and empty) all the way back on day one. So, that’s a God-like task!

Third, they are to take dominion over… well, over every living thing, everywhere. Again—sounds like a task just about worthy of God Himself.

So, here we are at the end of day six, and God has just given Adam and Eve this gigantic workload. And what is the first step to doing all of that work?

Rest. How long? An entire day. Uh… now, I know that Adam had kind of a long day with the establishment of the covenant of works, and the whole animal-naming thing, and then the first major surgery, followed by his wedding. Long day. Sure. But, he’s unfallen. Never mind that Eve only just came in at the very end there. Why in the (newly created) world do they need a rest?
Because it’s not physical rest. God blessed the seventh day. He made it some glad and beneficial. God made holy the seventh day. He set it apart to Himself. Before He launched Adam and Eve into a life of delight in and devotion to all that God had made them for, God made it clear that He had first of all made them for Himself.

Of everything that God made, perhaps the most important thing that He made was this holy day. The Sabbath is a weekly and perpetual reminder that God has made us in order that we might be delighted in and devoted to Him. All day. Every day. This is the lesson of the Sabbath Day!
How are you treating the Lord’s Day as wholly holy unto the Lord? As a blessing?
Suggested Songs: ARP92 “It’s Good to Thank the Lord” or TPH152 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

Friday, November 09, 2018

2018.11.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 5:31-47

Questions for Littles: Whom does Jesus not claim as a witness for Himself in v31? What does He claim to have from another instead in v32? Whom does He name as a witness of Himself in v33? Why is this witness not that important to Him personally (v34)? If not, then why did He mention that witness? What does Jesus call John the Baptizer in v35? What kind of witness does Jesus claim to have in v36? Who gave Him works to do? What did those works testify that the Father had done? Whom else does Jesus say, in v37, has testified of Jesus? Who had never heard His voice? What had they not seen? What did they not have abiding in them (v38)? Why not? What did they search (v39)? What did they think they would have in the Scriptures? But of Whom do the Scriptures testify? To whom were they unwilling to come to have life (v40)? From whom does Jesus not receive His honor (v41)? But what did His hearers not have for God (v42)? In whose name did Jesus come (v43)? What name were they more willing to receive? From whom were they willing to receive honor (v44)? Who will accuse them to the Father (v45)? About Whom did Moses write (v46)? What did Jesus expect them to reject, since they do not listen to Moses (47)
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus addresses a rather common claim of those who do not believe in Him: they say that there’s just not enough evidence.

Of course, as Jesus points out, there’s plenty of good testimony to Jesus as the only hope of eternal life. John the Baptizer witnessed to Him as the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus’s works were signs that He performed in which others might behold His glory. The Father Himself spoke from heaven at Jesus’s baptism. And the Scriptures in general—and Moses in particular—spoke of Jesus as the One in whom they might have eternal life.

So, why is it that people refuse Christ, when there is this fourfold witness? Why is it that others refuse to believe in God at all, despite all of the evidence about Himself that He has built into the creation?

The problem is not in the evidence. The problem is not in the argument. The problem is in the heart of the unbeliever. YOU ARE NOT WILLING (v40). YOU DO NOT HAVE THE LOVE OF GOD IN YOU (v42).

What we need, in order to come to Christ, is not more evidence, but to realize that it is our rebellious wills and wicked hearts that are the problem. Once we relent, we are ready to listen to the Scriptures, which we know from this passage that they will be speaking to us of Him!
Have you admitted your own rebellious will and wicked heart? Whom do you know that is rejecting Christ? What do they need? What can you do for them?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH271 “Blessed Jesus, at Your Word”

Thursday, November 08, 2018

2018.11.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 13

Questions for Littles: What kind of authenticating sign would Paul be, if he had tongues signs even more than actually existed, but was missing the love sign (v1)? If he has prophecy, and understands it all completely and believes it, but does not love, what is he (v2)? If he performs great acts of self-sacrifice, what might he still not have? And what will it profit him (v3)? What does love do (4a)? What does love be (4b)? What two things does love not do (4c-d)? What is love not (4e)? How does love not behave (v5)? What does it not seek? How does it not respond to offenses? What does it not think/calculate? What does love not rejoice in (v6)? What does love rejoice in? What does love bear (v7)? What does love believe? What does love hope? What does love endure? Which of the authenticating signs will never end (v8)? What were currently partial at the time that Paul wrote (v9)? Did God’s revelation remain incomplete? When the completion arrived what happened to partial words of prophecy and knowledge (v10)? How does v11 describe the age of partial revelation? How does v12 describe the age of partial revelation? What three things outlast the age of partial revelation (v13)? Which is the greatest of the three? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we continued hearing about the spiritual aspect of our lives. Last week, in chapter 12, we learned that the whole point of having God’s Word spoken and authenticated to us was the fact that this Word is what the Holy Spirit uses to work faith in each of us, and to make every one of us a necessary and effective instrument of God in the lives of the other members of the congregation.

This is why prophecy in a known tongue is going to get such a hearty recommendation in chapter 14. It’s what God uses to build us up. But here, in chapter 13, the focus is upon what that building up looks like.

There were spiritual gifts that were authenticating signs for the delivery of God’s Word during the age of partial revelation. But even at that time, those signs did not compare with love. Love was not only a sign that the effective Word was being spoken; it was a sign that the authentic Word had taken its effect.

Now, there is much that we could say about love here, but that section from the middle of v5 to the end of v7 doesn’t get nearly enough consideration. Love is most easily identifiable when it is being mistreated. How does love react then?

It is not provoked—love refuses to take offense. It doesn’t calculate wrongs—there’s no keeping of score here. It has eyes not so much for what ill has been done because it is busy delighting in what has been true.

It bears all things—love doesn’t say, “I’ve had it” or “I’m done.” It believes all things—if there’s a possible explanation with a good intention, that’s the one that love chooses to believe. It hopes all things—love doesn’t say, “this will never get better” but rather “it’s worth giving him another chance.” It endures all things—love says, “It’s worth it for me to carry the pain in order to continue in this relationship.”

“NO ONE loves like that, when they are mistreated!!” Exactly. Well, not exactly. Real Christians do. That’s why it works as a sign. Here is the authentication of the fact that the Holy Spirit has done real work in someone by His real Word: that person has come to love like 1 Corinthians 13 describes!
When have you felt mistreated lately? How is this an opportunity to show true Christian love?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

2018.11.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 7

Questions for Littles: Whom does it say committed a trespass in v1? But who had specifically done this? What did Joshua send men to Ai to do (v2)? What counsel did the men give (v3)? How many did Joshua send to fight (v4)? What happened to them? How many actually died (v5)? But what was the result in the hearts of the people of Israel? How did Joshua respond (v6)? In front of what did he respond like this? What does he ask God if the Lord about why He brought the people over the Jordan (v7)? What argument does Joshua make—what does he say is at stake in v9? What does the Lord tell Joshua to do in v10? Of what does He inform Joshua in v11? What will the Lord not do with them anymore until they remove the accursed thing from among them (12)? What is Joshua to do to the people in v13? What will the process be, to identify who has the accursed thing in v14? What must be done to the person who has it (v15)? What tribe, clan, family, and household does the Lord identify in v16-18? What does Joshua tell Achan to do in v19? What had Achan taken and where had he put them (v20-23)? What does Joshua say to Achan? What does all Israel do to him? What did they raise over him in v26? How does the Lord respond?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we learn how seriously the Lord takes His holiness, and just how seriously we ought to as well.

If the Lord says that something is set apart to Him, then it is entirely set apart to Him. There are no “little things.” We reveal that we just don’t get it, if we are horrified at what happens to Achan.

We should instead have been horrified that someone was willing to take even the smallest thing that had been set apart to destruction before the Lord. We should have been horrified that anyone was willing to value their possessions ahead of participating faithfully in the life of God’s people. We should have been horrified that, as the Lord continued to narrow down and single out Achan, he waited all the way until Joshua commanded him before he actually confessed.

The interesting thing is that people are going to a much worse fate than we read about here from Achan, and we seem to be bothered relatively little. Parents are leading their children in godless, worldly lives—bringing them along straight to the everlasting flames of Hell. Are we horrified at that?

Even more than the astonishment of horror, let us stir ourselves up to a great astonishment of trust and worship. For, though each one of us deserves far worse than Achan received, it was the Lord Jesus Himself, who never sinned in the slightest, that bore the fire of God’s wrath so that the Lord’s fierce anger would turn away from us. Praise the Lord!
What do you do with God’s holy day? Holy worship? Holy Word? Holy Name?
Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches?” or TPH230 “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

2018.11.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Revelation 5

Questions for Littles: What did the One on the throne have in v1? What question does the strong angel ask in v2? What was v3’s answer to the question? How did John respond to this (v4)? Whom did the elder say had prevailed to be able to do it (v6)? When John looks for this Lion in v6, what does he see (v6)? What does the Lamb come and take in v7? What had Jesus taken in v8? What do the four living creatures and twenty-four elders do when they see this? What does v8 call Jesus? What does a harp represent? What does the verse tell us the bowls of incense represent? What kind of song did they sing in v9? What did they say Jesus was worthy to do? Why do they say that He is worthy? What has Jesus made out of those whom He has redeemed (v10)? What does John see in v11? How many angels were there? What were they saying in v12? With what kind of voice? How many of the creatures in heaven were doing so (v13)? How many of those on the earth? How many of those under the earth? How many of those in the sea? To whom were they shouting this blessing and honor and glory and power? What did the four living creatures say in v14? What did the twenty-four elders do? What does v14 call Jesus?
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin came from Revelation 4:11-5:14.

Every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee and every tongue on earth. Every knee and every tongue in heaven.

No one else has the power to control all of history. And our Lord Jesus exercises this power to control in two infinitely important ways. First, He crushes His enemies. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Root of David. He has prevailed. He has crushed the serpent’s head!

But the truly glorious thing is the way that He did this. As we quoted earlier from Philippians 2, perhaps you remembered how that comes about it: Jesus Christ, for whom equality with God was not something that had to be grasped at, humbled Himself to become a man, and especially to die the death of the cross as a man.

So, when John looks for this Lion that the elder has told him about in Revelation 5, what does he see? Not a Lion but a Lamb… and not just any Lamb, but a Lamb that appears that it has been slain!

It is this, specifically, Jesus’s being saving us by shedding His blood for us, that makes heaven and earth explode with His praises! How about for you?
What about Jesus and what He has done brings out your praise the most?
Suggested songs: ARP22A “My God, My God” or TPH431 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”

Monday, November 05, 2018

2018.11.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 1:24-27

Questions for Littles: Who commanded the earth to bring forth the living creature? What three classes of kinds did He command it to bring forth? According to what did He command it to bring forth? According to what did God make the beast of the earth (v25)? According to what did God make the cattle? According to what did God make everything that creeps? What did God see? Then what did God say in v26? Whom did He say should produce the man? In what? According to what? What would the man have over the other creatures? What does God repeat twice in v27? What does God specifically mention about man at the end of v27? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we see many differences between man and animals that help us understand how to live in the renewed image of God as redeemed Christians.

First, while it is the animals’ job to reproduce after their own kind, it is mankind’s job to emphasize His likeness in us. Thinking about just some of the things that we have seen about God in this chapter, that means orderliness, diligence, goodness, discernment, generosity, and delight in life.

The problem is that fallen people don’t naturally image God in this way. When the Pharisees refused to believe in Jesus, He told them that they were of their father the devil. So, being fruitful and multiplying means something far more significant than having a bunch of babies.

It means family worship. It means discipline and instruction. It means keeping the Lord’s Day. It means getting to the public worship and teaching and prayer of the church. It means eagerly receiving the shepherding of the elders. For parents, it means: making use of all of those means of grace by which our covenant Lord has promised to save our children. Not in a season of having children? Being fruitful and multiplying also means doing your part for the congregation’s covenant children while also devoting yourself to evangelism of those outside of the congregation.

Second, we see that we are to fill the earth and subdue it. In other words, the entire planet is to be managed and adjusted in order to be made habitable for man—not in wasteful or ugly ways, but certainly with such variety and creativity and beauty in every different kind of place until the whole earth is filled with image-bearers imitating the Lord in all His glorious character. That is the true environmentalism!

Finally, we see that we have a duty to take dominion over the creatures. This, of course, does not mean to abuse the creatures. How could one think that after seeing what God has done throughout the creation to prepare and provide for each creature?! But it does mean valuing other people above all the animals, which is a proper recognition of the image of God in those people. And it means managing the other creatures well, so that they may afford people as much health, help, comfort, and pleasure as possible.
What part of Jesus’ plan for making and multiplying Christians could you most improve in?
Suggested Songs: ARP8 “Lord, Our Lord” or TPH8B “Lord, Our Lord, in All the Earth”

Saturday, November 03, 2018

2018.11.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 1:24-27

Questions for Littles: Who commanded the earth to bring forth the living creature? What three classes of kinds did He command it to bring forth? According to what did He command it to bring forth? According to what did God make the beast of the earth (v25)? According to what did God make the cattle? According to what did God make everything that creeps? What did God see? Then what did God say in v26? Whom did He say should produce the man? In what? According to what? What would the man have over the other creatures? What does God repeat twice in v27? What does God specifically mention about man at the end of v27?
In the Scripture for tomorrow’s sermon, we read about God creating living beings who reside upon the earth. He names three classes of them: cattle, creeping things, and beasts. More importantly, He mentions that within those three classes, what He specifically creates is each kind.

This is just the latest in a series of clear incompatibilities between how God actually created according to Scripture, and the imaginary human theory of evolution. So-called “theistic evolutionists” would have us believe that we can hold onto Genesis 1:24-27 with one hand, while with the other hand we hold onto the idea that one kind came from another kind.

This simply isn’t possible. Just as God commanded that each plant kind would produce only the seed for its kind, so now He simultaneously creates all of the different land animal kinds. The kinds that we have are not the result of one different kind descending from another. They all existed already on day six.

Thus, evolutionary theory is exactly opposite Scripture, with the Bible agreeing with what we have observed: animals only ever produce their own kind, and never ever (not even once) a different or new kind.

Of course, where things will get interesting is when we get to the creation of mankind. Rather than being created according to the “man” kind, man is repeatedly described as being created in God’s image.

This is the most important disagreement with evolution. Man is not a kind of animal at all. Created in the image of God, He is completely unique among the creatures.

This, of course, is a foreshadowing, because there is an even greater way that man is unique among the creatures. One day, the Creator Himself will become a man. What a precious thing is a human being in the eyes of the Living God!
What people are you most tempted to value less than you should?
Suggested Songs: ARP8 “Lord, Our Lord” or TPH8B “Lord, Our Lord, in All the Earth”

Friday, November 02, 2018

2018.11.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 5:24-30

Questions for Littles: Who is speaking in this passage? Whose word does the person He is talking about hear? In whom does that person believe? What does that person have? What shall they not come into? From what have they passed? Into what have they passed? What does Jesus say is coming in v25? What does Jesus say now is? What kind of people will hear the voice of the Son of God? What will happen to those who hear? Who has life in Himself in v26? To whom has He granted to have life in Himself? What else has He given Him authority to do (v27)? Why? What does He tell them not to do in v28? Why not? Whom does v28 now say will hear His voice? What will they all do (v29)? To what kind of resurrection will those who have done good come? To what kind of resurrection will those who have done evil come? What can Jesus do of Himself (v30)? How does He determine what to judge? What is righteous in v30? Whose will does Jesus not seek? Whose will does Jesus seek?
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus teaches us about spiritual death and bodily death.

First, Jesus teaches us about Spiritual death: the state of unbelief. The one who believes has everlasting life because he has already passed from death into life. A believer is someone who is already spiritually alive.

Well, how did the believer come alive spiritually? v25 tells us the answer: the dead hear Christ’s voice, and those who hear His voice live. Are you looking for spiritual life? Come prayerfully under the preaching of Scripture, where Hebrews (and other passages) tells us that Jesus addresses us with His Word. Ask that you would hear Him. Those who hear Him will live!

But we also learn about bodily death: that it is temporary. There is a bodily resurrection coming, also at the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what comes of us in that bodily resurrection depends upon whether or not we have been made spiritually alive.

We cannot earn the resurrection of life. That comes only by the grace of Jesus. But that grace does make us spiritually alive to do good. So, it is no surprise that it is those who have done good who receive a resurrection of life.

But woe unto him who is never made spiritually alive. Such a person is spiritually dead throughout his life on earth, and can only have been said to have done evil. Therefore, our passage warns that this person will most certainly come out of his grave—unto a resurrection of condemnation.

So, both salvation and condemnation announce to us that Jesus is the living God. Who can save but God alone? Who can judge and condemn but God alone? And it is God the Son who does both!
How are you making the most of your opportunities to hear the voice of Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP29 “You Sons of the Gods” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

Thursday, November 01, 2018

2018.11.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 12

Questions for Littles: What is this passage “concerning” (v1)? What does the apostle want them not to be? What had they been (v2)? Regardless of how they were led, to what kind of idols had they been carried away? What had some who claimed to be speaking by the Spirit said about Jesus (v3)? What were others saying when they were taken over by the Holy Spirit? By what diverse things did this Spirit-speech come (v4)? What is another name for these gifts (v5)? What is another (v6)? But what is there only one of for this (v4)? And only one of (v5)? And only one of (v6)? For whom were these manifestations being given (v7)? What was one kind of word the Spirit gave (8a)? And another kind of word the Spirit gave (8b)? And what were different signs that the Spirit gave about these words (v9b, v10a, v10b, v10c, v10d, v10e)? And what was the Spirit, the Lord, the God who works all in all, working through these words that were being attested by these signs (v9a, 11)? How many bodies does Christ have (v12)? What do all members of the body have from the Spirit (v13)? What do all do into the Spirit? How many members does the body have (v14)? What should a member never say about itself (v15-19)? What should a member never say about another member (v20-21)? What should the members of the body be giving to one another according to vv22-24? What should the members of the body be giving to one another according to v25? What else should we be doing for one another (v26)? What activity (just as with vv4-11) has the central focus in the roles described in v28-31? What would the “best gifts” be, and who would have them? What kind of way is the next passage going to describe? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we begin hearing about spiritual life. Notice that I did not write spiritual “gifts.” That is because they, in fact, are not the focus here. v1 does not mention gifts, but simply spiritual (things/life).

They had had no spiritual life previously, because they followed idols that could not talk. True, demons sometimes talked (and still were—saying that Jesus was still accursed!). But there was no true revelation, and there was no spiritual life through it.

That was a stark contrast with real spirituality, in real Christianity, which was all through the Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word. Naturally, everyone wanted to be one through whom the Word came, or through whom the Word-authenticating signs came.

But that wasn’t a role that was for everyone. What were the roles for everyone? Faith—which came only by the work of God the Holy Spirit!... nothing to sniff at!! And recognizing oneself as part of the body. And recognizing others as part of the body. And honoring those in the body who seemed to be the least. And not having division among the body but caring for every single member. And suffering with one another. And rejoicing over one another’s honors.

These were the real evidences of Holy-Spirit-power!
What 1Cor 12 evidences of Holy Spirit power do you see? Can you be a part of?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”