Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, March 03, 2018

2018.03.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 10:5-10

Questions for Littles: When Christ came into the world, what did He say that God did not desire (v5)? What did He say that God had prepared for Him instead? In what did He say that God had no pleasure (v6)? Of whom was it written in the scroll of the book (v7)? Who had come to do God’s will? What did God do to the old sacrifices (v8-9)? What did He establish instead? What did God will to be the way that we would be sanctified (made holy, v10)?
In this week’s sermon text, we learned what (Whom!) Psalm 40:6-8 is all about: the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice!

Now, it’s true that David originally wrote those words. And God “dug out ears” for David, just as He did 1000 years later for Christ. But the problem with David’s ears is that they did not listen like they should. He would write, later in that Psalm, “My iniquities have gone over my head.”

So, who is the One about whom the book says that He would actually come and do God’s will? That He would be perfectly obedient, and that His obedience would put an end to all other sacrifices?

Our passage answers: that was about Jesus. In fact, we can understand v5 very literally as something that Jesus said. As He grew in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and with men, Jesus realized that these verses from Psalm 40 were about Himself.

Wonderful finality! Have you ever had a problem that you tried one thing after another, and nothing worked? Our being cleansed as holy from our sin is just such a problem.

But God had a plan. God had a will for how we would be cleansed as holy from our sin: He would prepare a body for His own Son. And His Son would come and be obedient… especially the obedience of going to the cross, and offering upon that cross, once for all, the body that had been prepared for Him.

You remember Jesus’s prayer: “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (Jn 12:27-28)

We can be absolutely certain of salvation through the death of Christ, because this has always been God’s only plan for our cleansing. Are you clean?
How have you responded to what has God accomplished for you in the death of Jesus Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or HB276 “There Is a Fountain”

Friday, March 02, 2018

2018.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 10:17-31

Questions for Littles: Whom did the man in v17 call “Good Teacher”? What does Jesus ask Him in v18? What is Jesus’ answer, in v19, for what to “do” to inherit eternal life? How long does the man say that he has done these things (v20)? What does Jesus tell him is the one thing left to do in v21? How does the man feel when he hears this, and what does he do (v22)? Why is he so sad? What does Jesus say is hard (v23)? What does Jesus say that people like this man trust in, in v24 (NKJV)? What does He say is easier than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (v25)? What, then, do the disciples ask in v26? With whom does Jesus say it is possible (v27)? Whom does Peter think have done better than the rich man (v28)? What does Jesus assure Peter, now in this time, about the things that he thought he had given up (v29-30)? What else do we receive in this life? What do we receive in the age to come? What surprise does Jesus predict in v31?
In the Gospel reading this week, we have two interesting examples of those who think that they can do something to inherit eternal life.

The first is obvious: the man who thought he had kept all of God’s commandments from his childhood. At least that’s what he said. But, he’s here asking Jesus, so it’s obvious he’s missing something.

The great thing that he is missing is that Jesus is God, become a man, to save us from our sins. When Jesus said that “only God is good,” He was showing that the rich young man didn’t think that Jesus was God.

It’s interesting that the man does not seem so bothered by the instruction to “take up the cross.” Since Jesus had not yet been crucified, this seems like it would be the most startling command! Instead, the man is sad because of his many possessions.

Oh, let us beware of how we fall in love with earthly things, comforts, and pleasures! Let us constantly be mindful of Christ’s surpassing value, that we would cling to Him so tightly that we hold only comparatively loosely any other thing!

Then, there’s Peter, making the same mistake. He thinks that he will be praised for having outdone the rich man. Jesus’s answer is that Peter really hasn’t given up anything. In fact, he has enriched himself 100 times over by clinging to Christ!

Yes, there is one sense in which he has sacrificed. But the sacrifice itself is great gain. Even being persecuted is a privilege that is granted. Christianity is not “giving stuff up now to get stuff later.” Christianity is being 100 times more blessed now, and infinitely more in the next life!

To have Christ is to have every good thing. We do not do Him good. He does every good for us, and to us, and through us. He alone is good. Let us cling to Him!
What does it look like to cling to Christ instead of ideas of your own goodness?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or HB271 “Rock of Ages”

Thursday, March 01, 2018

2018.03.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 11:33-12:2

Read Romans 11:33-12:2
Questions for Littles: Whose wisdom is deeply rich (v33)? Whose knowledge is deeply rich? Whose judgments are unsearchable? Whose ways are past finding out? What has no one known (v34)? What has no one become? What has no one done first (v35) so that the Lord has never “repaid” anyone? Of whom are all things (v36)? Through whom are all things? To whom are all things? What is to be given unto God forever? What are we to do by the mercies of God (12:1)? What are we to present to Him? As what kind of sacrifice? What kind of service is this? To what are we not to be conformed (v2)? By what are we to be transformed? When we live this way, what do we prove about God’s will?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we come to a transition point in the entire book of Romans. It had taken almost six chapters to get to the first command in the entire book. And there have not been many between then and her. But now, they are going to come fast and furious.

Why wait this long to start telling us what to do? So that it will come as a worshiping response to the mercy of God! So that it will come as that “reasonable service,” that “logical worship,” the necessary outcome of realizing that God owed us nothing but has given us everything.

From Him are all things. He has made it all. And through Him are all things. We can do nothing, except by His grace. So it makes all the sense in the world that to Him would also be all things.

The question, “Do I actually realize all that God has done for me?” Can be answered by reference to the necessary response, “Am I offering body as a living sacrifice to Him?” When we realize who He is and what He has done, alongside who we are and what we have done, we will immediately renounce any claim to be our own selves.

It’s not just that we have no better gift to give Him, or that we have no other gift to give Him. The fact is, that when we realize that we have received everything from God, we will want to give everything to God and for God!

12:2 reminds us that this is exactly opposite the way of the world. After all, this is a world of those who refuse to acknowledge Him as God or give thanks (cf. 1:21). They pushed down on the knowledge of God, and He gave them over to that depraved mind of theirs.

So, we are not surprised that the first step to responding rightly to the Lord is to have our mind renewed. To have our mind renewed to acknowledge God. To have our mind renewed so that we will live our entire lives as acts of thanksgiving to God.

Of course, it is not much of a “sacrifice” on our parts to sacrifice everything for God. Why? Because His will is good and acceptable and perfect. The word translated “prove” in v2 means to discover the truth of something by the experience of it.

And that’s exactly what we discover, when we live according to God’s Word. His way is always good (the very best thing for us), and acceptable (pleasant), and perfect (effective and complete). Are you finding this out by living a life of thanks for the gospel?
In what exercises do you “renew your mind” by learning God’s Word?
Suggested songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or HB310 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018.02.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 16

Questions for Littles: What hadn’t Sarai, Abram’s wife, done (v1)? What did she have? Whom did Sarai say had kept her from bearing children (v2)? By whom did she suggest that Abram produce a child? What did Abram listen to? What did Sarai do with Hagar in v3? How long had Abram lived in Canaan at this point? What happened to Sarai, in Hagar’s eyes, when Hagar became pregnant with a baby (v4)? What did Sarai say to Abram, when Hagar looked down on her (v5)? What did Abram do to Hagar in v6? What did Sarai do? How did Hagar respond? Who finds her in the wilderness (v7)? What does He call her? What does He ask her? How does Hagar answer? What does the Angel of Yahweh command in v9? What does He promise her that He will do in v10? What is she to call her child (v11)? Why? What does Yahweh say about the child in v12? What does Hagar call Yahweh in v13? What else came to be known by that name (v14)? How old was Abram when Ishmael was born (v15-16)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, the Lord displayed Himself as the God who hears and the God who sees… and is still gracious!

It’s that last part that is so amazing. We don’t have a very flattering picture of our father in the faith in this chapter. He lets his wife take the lead and accepts her sinful plan. He commits adultery. When the results aren’t what she had hoped, he doesn’t protect the vulnerable woman in his home, but hands her over to harsh treatment.

And all of this, while we are being reminded that Yahweh is the God who hears and the God who sees. Surely, the Lord’s choosing and calling are entirely by grace!!

Such a merciful, forgiving God is surely worthy of our patience. It had been ten years since Abram entered the land. That is true. But, Abram had also received that glorious covenant ceremony in chapter 15! And, if they were really recognizing that it was the Lord who was closing Sarai’s womb, would it make any sense to try and fulfill God’s promises themselves by sinning?

I’m afraid that all of our sin is like that. The Lord has already promised us every blessing in heaven and on earth in Christ Jesus. So, whenever we sin in order to try to get something (or get out of something), aren’t we basically saying, “I don’t trust you to bless me; so, I’m taking matters into my own hands”?!

Our sin sure is ugly, when we consider it. But, the whole point of this passage is that God was bringing Christ into the world—even through such a family as this. He is always truly the One who has matters in His hands.

Sometimes, He commands us to do right but difficult things, like “Go back to the person who is in authority over you, even though they recently haven’t been treating you well.” But He always does so in the midst of abundant promises that find their “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ. Ought we not patiently obey such a gracious God?!
In what situation right now, do you most need the reminder to patiently obey? Then how will you remind yourself of God’s promises in Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or HB144 “I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2018.02.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 99

Questions for Littles: Who reigns (v1)? Who should tremble? Where does the Lord dwell? What should be shaken/moved? Where, especially, is the Lord seen to be great (v2)? High above whom is the Lord (v2b)? What great and awesome thing should the peoples praise (v3)? What loves justice (v4a)? What has He established and executed? Where? Whose God does v5 command to exalt? Where should we worship Him (v5b)? Why (v5c)? What three men have been among the Lord’s priests (v6)? What did they do? How did the Lord respond? How has God spoken to Jacob (v7)? Who was God to them (v8)? What should we do with the Lord our God (v9)? Where? Why? 
This week’s Call to Worship and Invocation came from Psalm 99, in order to sing God’s thoughts after Him with Rejoice, the Lord Is King!

There are many reasons in this Psalm to rejoice that it is indeed Yahweh who is King. The repeated refrain is that He is holy. Yahweh alone is God, there is no other. He alone is Creator. Everyone and everything else is just a creature.

But what are some of the ways that God displays this earth-shaking (v1) holiness?

One is by choosing a particular people for Himself. The Lord calls is people Zion in v2, and there is something very precious about being able to call Him “our” God… it shouts out our covenant relationship wherein He is our God, and we are His specially chosen people.

Why did He choose us? Certainly not for any good in us! v4 is really quite astonishing. The Lord has established and executed equity, justice, and righteousness in Jacob. Jacob? Really? His name had been changed to “Israel,” but the Lord keeps using the name that means “Heel [grabber]”—i.e. supplanter, deceiver, con artist, shyster. The Lord certainly has not chosen us because of any good in us!!

Why, then, has He chosen us? The answer is in another name, this time in v8. The Lord answers Moses, Aaron, Samuel, indeed any or all of His people, in order to make Himself known as “God-Who-Forgives.” What a blessed name!

When you see the filthiness of your sin, and groan under the weight of the fact that you continue to commit it, let this be a healing balm to your soul: the Lord knew this is what it would be like; He chose to love you, because He loves to love you; He loves to announce and display that He is “God-Who-Forgives.”

This is the great subject of the worship “between the cherubim” (v1), “in Zion (v2), “at His footstool” (v5), and “at His holy hill” (v9). Each of these is a reference to corporate worship.

When we understand His love for His people, and His display of Himself in relationship with His people, we are no longer satisfied merely with individual worship. Each week, we are eager for the Lord’s Day gatherings, and our whole lives long we are eager to join that great congregation in glory!
When have you most needed to call upon “God-Who-Forgives”?
Suggested songs: ARP99A “Let the Nations Tremble” or HB11 “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

Monday, February 26, 2018

2018.02.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 10:1-4

Questions for Littles: What did the law have a shadow of (v1)? What did the law not have? What were offered the same, year after year? What could these sacrifices not do for those who drew near through them? If the Old Testament sacrifices could perfect the worshipers, what would have ceased (v2)? So, what did the sacrifices remind them of, year after year (v3)? What does v4 say is impossible? 
In the sermon this week, we heard about the same sacrifices being offered, year after year. We could almost hear the child asking the questions, “Why do we have to go back? Aren’t our sins already forgiven? If they’re not, then aren’t they still going to not be forgiven this time too?”

Those are all excellent questions. The fact is that, according to our Scripture passage today, those sacrifices could not take away sins.

As for the answer to why continue to do them, that one’s easy: because God said so! Now, here’s a little harder question: why did God say so?

We can see the biggest answer in v10: so that Jesus Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice would be displayed to be infinitely glorious and infinitely better than any other sacrifice, and than every other sacrifice!

But, in our passage today, we can see another answer in v3: so that they would be reminded of their sins every year. Every year, they would keep the feasts. Every year, there would be the day of atonement. Every year, there would be a reminder that sin had not yet been dealt with.

But it wasn’t just their sacrifices, then, that they were being reminded could not cleanse them from sin. Nothing else that they did could cleanse them from sin!

Dear reader, that is a most important lesson for you as well! There is absolutely nothing that you or I can do to be cleansed from sin. We want to think there is. Maybe if we are serious enough about repenting. Maybe if we are sorry enough about our sin. Maybe if… NO! Stop! Whatever it is, it cannot do it!

One of the main points of the Old Testament sacrificial system was to announce both to them and to us that only Jesus’s sacrifice could pay for sins. Are we listening?
What kinds of things do you feel like trying to do when you feel guilty? Can those things ever make up for your sin? Upon what hope must you rest instead?
Suggested Songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or HB271 “Rock of Ages”